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Salt Point Foray
November 14-15, 2010

We couldn't have asked for a nicer weekend up on the Sonoma Coast. Even tho the season is just starting up at the Park, for the intrepid hunters of BAMS, many, many species were found, including a number of delicious edibles, and everyone had a great time coursing the gorgeous Salt Point State Park woods and checking out the wild, wild sea... the pounding surf made it not such a great weekend to be abalone diving, although the campground was filled with those willing to try!

The porcini were just starting, but for those who got out early and concentrated on the pine habitat, plenty were pulled from the duff. A circuit of the campground showed a number of picnic tables covered by porcini and surrounded by their processors... big family groups of Eastern Europeans, as well as some old familiar faces from former mushroom events here and there. What the hey, the mushrooms are for everyone!

Our "official" BAMS walks took folks to a diversity of habitats, and we were rewarded by a diversity of fungal forms, including fine edibles like Sparrasis crispa, Pleurotus ostreatus, three species of chanterelles (Cantharellus formosus, C. subalbidus and C. roseocanus), a foreshadowing of some winter shrooms, like Hydnum repandum, candy caps and yellow feet, a couple of lovely Queen boletes (Boletus regineus), young and bug-free Pigs Ears (hey, some folks actually LIKE these!), and lotsa mild-tasting Russula bio-mass.

uncovering chanterelles finding russula
Uncovering a Chanterelle in the duff Finding a Russula

Although I didn't see any coccora, and no one else brought any in, word in the woods is that they are around. Amanita pachycholea was also fruiting, as well as lots of Amanita franchetii, always a pleasure to see, and the odd, currently unnamed Amanita that we have been calling both Amanita gemmata var. exannulata as well as breckonii, but probably is neither of those. When fully expanded, it looks similar to a pantherina (tannish-brownish cap) but its volva is membranous rather than a close cup.

Catching our eyes thoughout the woods were plenty of the handsome if not truly edible Gomphus floccosus, the scaly chanterelle. We all got to learn this shroom in its many guises, from the compact, brightly yellow, oddly phallus-like forms to the weird young white columns with a depresssed orange center to full blown trumpets, their tubes lined with coarse scales. Always a pleasure to see, if not so exciting in the fry pan.

display mushrooms first bolete
Display of the day's fungi The first bolete is always the best one!

We found a couple of Christian Schwarz' wish-list species: the gorgeously red Ramaria araiospora and maybe an Agaricus smithii, too!

Four Agaricus species in all were found, plus one A. californicus brought to our foray for a total of five: Agaricus dimunitivus, Agaricus meleagris (praeclaresquamosus), Agaricus subrutilescens, and Agaricus smithii (maybe).

Saturday night found us back at the campground, cooking up a storm. We feasted for hours, and topped it off with a home-made, deep dish apple pie (thanks to Adam Wright). Lotsa fat and happy groans around the campfire.

Salt Point BAMS Foray

Sunset at Gerstle Cove Campground. © photo by Barbara Stettler

Great to see so many new faces as well as all those younger folks discovering the joys of mushrooms. Glad to have you all be a part of this wild and wonderful world. Gotta start training up our future replacements!

~Contributed by Debbie Viess

Dinner feast

Dinner potluck feast with lots of leftovers. © photo by Barbara Stettler