‘A feast for the eyes’ comes in a mixed year for summer/fall mushrooms

Jay Damm and Bill Peak give a visual peek at a mixed year for summer/fall mushrooms.

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Chicken of the woods mushrooms spotted at Deep River County Park in Indiana.

Chicken of the woods mushrooms spotted at Deep River County Park in Indiana.

Bill Peak

Mushrooms can be a visual feast as well as a choice edible, especially the late summer and fall ones.

“Even though the past month overall has been rather wet, the drought of early summer knocked back my beloved chanterelles a good bit this summer,” Jay Damm emailed in an update last Monday. “It just confirms my experience that if a species experiences dry conditions during the pre-season, the true season can be weak to non-existent.

Oyster mushrooms spotted this summer. Credit: Jay Damm

Oyster mushrooms spotted this summer.

Jay Damm

“While I did find enough chanterelles to eat at one of my patches over the weekend, my favored Will County location produced little to nothing in the way of chanterelles. It was, however, awash in Pleurotus, otherwise known as oyster mushrooms. An edible species found on decaying wood, they covered large sections of fallen timber by the hundreds. Although a choice edible, the summer variety can be rather buggy and host to a number of pests as my photo illustrates.

“I decided to make today’s hunt a feast for the eyes and leave the mushrooms for the inhabitants of the woods. “

A slug works on oyster mushrooms. Credit: Jay Damm

A slug works on oyster mushrooms.

Jay Damm

Bill Peak emailed his own visual feast Thursday, noting, “I went out today to look for some mushrooms after the recent rains and I come upon this chicken of the woods under a sugar maple at Deep River County Park [Indiana]. Looks pretty nice.”

Just in case this is a sign of coming submissions for Mushroom of the Week, here are the details for MOTW.

MOTW, the celebration of mushrooms and their stories (the stories matter, as this one shows) around Chicago fishing, runs as apt Wednesdays (generally) in the paper Sun-Times.

To make submissions, email (BowmanOutside@gmail.com) or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).

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