Mushroom Forecast from Local Expert Eric Schramm

Eric Schramm with Horn of Plenty MushroomsEric Schramm with Horn of Plenty Mushrooms

A kind of madness grips the Mendocino Coast each year as the opening of mushroom season (November to May) approaches. “Not surprising,” says mushroom merchant Eric Schramm, “when you consider that our county in an average year produces and sells 300,000 to 500,000 pounds.” Of the 3,000 mushroom species found in Mendocino County, according to Schramm, “500 are edible, 100 have the texture or presentation a chef can use and 20 are readily identifiable” as most often utilized in cooking. The two most often exported from Mendocino County are matsutake mushrooms (during Japanese New Year) and Horn of Plenty Blacks.

You can read more about Mendocino Mushroom Madness events here, or find some favorite mushroom recipes from local chefs.

Wild Mushroom Status Reports

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Wild Mushroom Update on 11/21/08

Eric “King of the Candy Caps” Schramm

So far, the season has been pretty dismal. There are a trickle of porcinis and matsutaki’s and a few chanterelles. It is still very dry out there despite 7 inches of rain.

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Wild Mushroom Update on 10/12/08 (first of season)

Eric “King of the Candy Caps” Schramm

The rain we had produced the first sign of chanterelles and porcini mushrooms, but in very small amounts. Right now, huckleberries continue to be the main crop. It’s a bumper crop for huckleberries.

Editor’s Note: our first rain of the season yielded 1.75 inches at my house in Mendocino. This is our first report of the young season from Eric, and more will follow as the rains get going in earnest.

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LAST SEASON — Wild Mushroom Status Reports
HISTORICAL INFO ONLY

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Wild Mushroom Update on 02/07/08

Eric “King of the Candy Caps” Schramm

The latest rains have degraded the mushroom crop with hail shredding some of the larger cap mushrooms. We are also finding that many of the Hedgehogs are soggy and don’t meet our quality standards. Although our pickers are passing up about 40 per cent of the mushrooms because we consider them too old, there are still plenty of good Hedgehogs, Black and Yellow-Footed Chanterelles.

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Wild Mushroom Update on 01/09/08

Eric “King of the Candy Caps” Schramm

Recent storms and fear of lightning strikes have kept us out of the forest the past week, but we expect to be back this week, looking for blacks, golden chantrelles, Yellow Foots and Hedgehogs. It’s been a good crop this year. Candy Cap picking also has been plentiful.

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Wild Mushroom Update on 12/27/07

Eric “King of the Candy Caps” Schramm

It’s a good mushroom crop this year despite the recent cold weather that slows down the development of mushrooms. We expect New Year’s Day to be our biggest day of the year for shipping mushrooms with the woods full of blacks, hedgehogs and yellow foots. With more rain on the way, the mushroom crop will get another boost.

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Wild Mushroom Update on 12/14/07

Eric “King of the Candy Caps” Schramm

We’ve got mushroomcicles out here with the cold and dry weather. We’re seeing just a few hedgehogs, yellow-foots and blacks barely growing. With the predicted rain coming, we expect a new spurt of mushroom growth as moisture and the warmer temperatures arrive.

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Wild Mushroom Update on 12/03/07

Eric “King of the Candy Caps” Schramm

The forecasted rain is welcome because picking has begun to stall as mushrooms have dried out.

With the rain, I look for a reblooming, including a crop of Matsutake, Candy Cap and Chanterelles. I expect to see an emergence of hedgehogs and yellow-footed Chanterelles in larger numbers. The rain, coupled with warmer weather, could result in a good crop of winter mushrooms. I also hope very soon to see black trumpet, also a Chanterelle, which would mean a good export season, especially with the dollar down against the Euro.

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Wild Mushroom Update on 11/20/07

Eric “King of the Candy Caps” Schramm

I have shipped out thousands of pounds of porcinis during a short “massive” season to more than 50 major U.S. cities. The early fantastic porcini mushroom season has waned as quickly as it came. It was our best season in about five years. Now the Matsutake or pine mushrooms have come on just as strong as the porcinis. But the prices in Japan are depressed because of the early season. Normally, December is prime month for Matsutakes. Chanterelles and early winter mushrooms are beginning to appear, including hedgehogs, yellow-foots and even some blacks.

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Wild Mushroom Update on 10/29/07

Eric “King of the Candy Caps” Schramm

Rains have brought on the porcini/boletes. Bloom is good, but slowing because of the lack of rain. The first matsukis have been seen. I’m looking forward to a banner mushroom season.

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Wild Mushroom Update on 10/22/07

Eric “King of the Candy Caps” Schramm

A good crop of chanterelles are in the forest right now. After six inches of rain, the porcini bolets are starting in the grassy edges as well. It looks like it will be a wonderful season for both. Rains also have ended the huckleberry season.

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Wild Mushroom Update on 10/10/07

Eric “King of the Candy Caps” Schramm

We’ve seen a few porcinis, but it usually takes a couple of weeks after a rain for the water to be absorbed by the mycelium and produce mushrooms in quantity. Note from DFF: We just got our first real rain of the season yesterday; I recorded 1.5 inches in my rain gauge. The clock is ticking!

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Wild Mushroom Update on 9/27/07

Eric “King of the Candy Caps” Schramm

While it rained in rest of the world this past week — an inch in Clear Lake and .04 in Willits — the coast got nothing, so there were no new volunteers of fresh mushrooms to speak of. Right now, our focus is huckleberries.

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Wild Mushroom Update on 9/18/07

Eric “King of the Candy Caps” Schramm

Some coastal mushroom patches have started on ridge lines one to three miles from the ocean where the trees are scrubbing out the fog, causing a drip line. Right now we are seeing golden chanterelles, several species of Russula and a few amanita, which are not edible.

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