Fall on the Oregon coast is a great time for foraging and enjoying seasonal foods. Wild mushrooms are gathered in large quantities and many varieties. Cranberries are harvested and distributed fresh. Apples are everywhere and often found on neglected trees yet still perfectly good to eat or process into applesauce, desserts etc.
Foraging for wild mushrooms is one of our favorite activities. Its a great reason to get out into the forest and wander for hours. Oregon is the one state we know that offers free guided hikes to learn and collect these delicacies. Starting at Fort Stephens State Park in September the ranger programs introduce many people to the ins and outs of collecting. One weekend we participated with friends Martie and Phil. We all found King Boletes with rookie Phil finding the most. These are very easy to identify, great for cooking and improved by drying.
Down the coast we found Lobster mushrooms while visiting the Cape Meares Lighthouse State Park. We weren’t even looking. These mushrooms are very unusual yet common. They are actually a Russula mushroom parasitized by another fungi. Incredibly the result is a tasteless fungi becoming a delicious one that really does smell and taste like lobster. We made into a fabulous Lobster Bisque and mushroom crab cakes.
While staying near Newport OR we found more Boletes, Lobsters, Chanterelles and even our first ever Cauliflower mushroom. The headland at Cape Perpetua gave us the chance to hunt in coastal mountain terrain. The small town of Yachats (YAH-hots) had their 20th annual mushroom festival Oct. 18-20. We attended some great lectures, wild mushroom displays, and a market of unusual varieties for sale. It was fun being around people as obsessed as we are. We collected so many boletes and lobsters that we got out the food dehydrator to preserve for future use.