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Mushrooms

Spring 2017

Emergence

Last August, shifting sands on a well-trafficked beach along Oahu’s west coast revealed 400-year-old carvings left behind by Hawaiian indigenous people. The 17 petroglyphs etched into the sandstone on Waianae Coast, and the stories they tell, had never been recorded. Without the right conditions, they may have remained hidden for years or centuries.

Archaeological sites like the one in Hawai‘i, or ancient buried pyramids and tombs in Egypt, open up their secrets when the conditions are right, but sometimes even plainly visible ruins hold mysteries. Mesa Verde’s astounding Cliff Palace and other Pueblo sites provide insight into the continent’s past civilizations to … » More …

Mushrooms, after the rains
Spring 2017

After the rains

WSU meteorologist Nic Loyd is stuck on one word for last October’s Washington weather: Wet.

Make that two words: Abnormally wet. Sea-Tac measured over 10 inches of rainfall. Even dry Yakima saw almost 2-1/2 inches. But the undisputed epicenter of soggy conditions was Spokane which registered not only their rainiest October ever, but the highest precipitation for any month ever recorded: a whopping 6-1/4 inches. That’s remarkable when compared to an average October rainfall of just 1-1/4 inches. Especially given that their typical annual total is just over 16 inches.

Loyd says this was due to an unusually deep and persistent trough of low pressure … » More …

Morels
Summer 2016

Safe mushrooming 101

Advice and tips from Washington State University mycologist Lori Carris on safe hunting for mushrooms.

Read about morel mushrooms and Carris’s research.

Basic tips

Learn the rules & regulations for your area
Learn to recognize the common edible mushrooms AND poisonous mushrooms
Eat mushrooms in moderation even when you are confident of identification
Always cook mushrooms thoroughly before eating.
When in doubt, throw it out.

A good guidebook is essential

A mushroom guide should be:

Easy to use, with lots of color pictures
Accurate & up to date
Relevant to the area in which you are … » More …

Asparagus and morels. Photo Bruce Andre
Summer 2016

Morels

Mysterious. Elusive. Delicious.

The smell of rain-soaked earth permeated the logged-over clearing in the woods in mid-May as my friend Mike and I peered closely at the ground and walked slowly. We were hunting mushrooms.

Mike’s more adept eyes spotted a cluster of light brown, honeycombed caps. He sliced the morel mushrooms with his knife. After a while we filled a small bucket, which we took back to Mike’s mom. She battered and fried them and, as a teenager in northeast Washington years ago, I had my first taste of the rich flavor of the wild Northwest mushroom.

Mike and I had likely picked Morchella … » More …

Fall 2015

How to grow your own mushrooms

For Zachary Frederick, forest farming is a challenge. The WSU doctoral student grew up in the shady woods near Ithaca, New York, where he too learned to cultivate oyster mushrooms on logs. Upon landing in the wheat fields of Pullman, Frederick was momentarily stumped but soon learned to grow oyster mushrooms on rolls of toilet paper using a Tupperware tote as an incubator. For those who are interested in entry-level forest farming, here are a few ideas for growing your own mushrooms:

Growing mushrooms on a toilet paper roll (by 100th Monkey Mushroom Farm)

You can also buy mushroom kits and other supplies … » More …