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.:: Mycofile Winter 2004 ::. >> Archive
Editor: Daphne Cant

Mycofile contributors
Daphne Cant, Sharmin Gamiet,
Peter G., Ruth Tubbesing
Juergen Kuerten

Article Index

The Fall Foray to Manning Park
by Ruth Tubbesing


“Despite all the horrible weather” (as Paul Koerger calls blue sky and sunshine), attendance at the Manning Park foray was to capacity with members from VMS and from Victoria. We arrived Friday evening at the Last Resort Lodge—a beautiful old steep roofed shingle-sided structure—to a sumptuous spread of “snacks” produced under the direction of Juergen Kuerten. Agostino and Christine were already cleaning piles of gleaming white shaggy manes found that day on a logging road. We all casually claimed beds in the two to six bed dorms, and rearranged a little to accommodate everyone. A few latecomers stayed at the main lodge. Warmed by food and drink, the unfamiliar faces took shape with names and tales. Paul Kroeger regaled us with a slide show and witty commentary of our favourite topic.
Saturday morning there was frost on the cars, and another clear sky. We fortified ourselves with bacon and eggs cooked with shaggy manes, fruit, cereal, toast and more, and fixed our bag lunches. Foray options included the alpine area, Lightening Lakes, Pasayten River Valley, and the Sumallo Grove. Our group chose the Pasayten area, left the park at the east gate, turned right up a dirt road in second growth forest interrupted by the logged areas. The terrain didn’t look promising. We met two hunters tracking a sluggish grouse at the roadside, and finally stopped at a tiny creek. We battled our way among the branches and underbrush above and below the road, and uncovered puffballs and a surprising array of other fungi. Mo’s wax paper was ideal for protecting the specimens. At a second creek we were also luckier than expected. Two more grouse entertained us, and we hid them from view when the hunters passed us again. We explored the stony river bed, wide with the low water level and cattle arrived to drink. By three we were back at the lodge, and relaxed in any number of ways. Our evening feast of minestrone soup, spaghetti, fresh corn, shaggy manes, chicken wings, and salad ended with a variety of desserts, one with rhubarb made by Victoria. And we wished Victoria well on her birthday. This time Jim Ginns from Penticton entertained us with slides of the surprisingly diverse hosts of rust fungi (Puccinium) found in the Okanogan, and showed us what Manning Park can offer in good mushroom weather.
Sunday morning pancake (and more) breakfast was followed by a tour of the tables covered with fungi. Paul plans to compile an inventory of fungi for Manning Park, as a contribution from the club (and to ensure we can come back). For a bad year we found a lot. Juergen said he had never seen such a big population of shaggy manes in one place. Fungi surprise us yet again.”

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Mushroom picker stumbles across counterfeit cash
AFP Australian Broadcasting Corporation


IA Polish mushroom picker found more than fungus when he came across a package in a wood containing $US200,000 in $US100 bills, police near Szczecin in the north-west of the country have reported. But delight gave way to disappointment when it turned out they were counterfeit, according to a spokesman quoted by the Polish news agency PAP. "The man who found them took them home and spent five days in thought before taking them to the police in a plastic bag," he said. It did not take the police long to decide they were fakes; most of them bore the same number. The forgers are being sought.

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Buyers dig deep as truffle price soars
By Philip Delves Broughton in Paris
(Filed: 19/12/2003) www.telegraph.co.uk

The results are in from France's first truffle sales of the season and they are worse than even the gloomiest gastronomes imagined.
The summer heat that roasted France this year penetrated deep into the ground shriveling the spongy, pungent fungus tuber melanosporum and dealing another blow to the country's beleaguered truffle growers.
Only 34 baskets of "black diamonds" came on the market in Lalbenque in the Lot this week, less than a tenth of last year's haul.
Gourmets determined to eat them will have to pay more than £850 per kilogram, twice as much as they did last year.
The trend is expected to continue as the winter round of truffle sales rolls down into Provence and northern Italy.
"It's going to be possibly the worst year ever for the truffle harvest," said Michel Tournayre, the president of an association of 200 truffle growers in the Gard in southern France.
Prices are going to double and this will drive the thieves into a frenzy."
Few of those who swoon over their truffle shavings in smart restaurants in London can have any idea of the almost bandit culture that produced them." Since criminals saw the value of truffles they have tried to take over the business. Prized dogs, capable of sniffing a truffle buried deep beneath an oak tree, have been stolen. Truffle growers must now keep their hoard under lock and key.
Cultivating truffles remains a mysterious process, stiffly resistant to streamlining. It can take years for a truffle to develop, and scientists still cannot understand why they grow in some places but not in others.
But in the regions of France and northern Italy where they do grow, farmers have formed collectives to mount armed patrols at night to see off thieves.
"Imagine someone who has waited 15 years to develop truffles and has spent every summer watering the ground where they grow," said M Tournayre. "He is right to get angry if someone tries to steal them."
M Tournayre has never recovered his prize truffle hound, which disappeared last spring. He believes that it was stolen by an Italian gang.
M Tournayre has called on French restaurateurs to hold back on their truffle use this winter, as they would with a wine if a certain vintage was not up to scratch; anything but buy on the black market or fob off people with fake Chinese truffles invading French kitchens.

 

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Frogs facing new threat from fungus
6 October 2003 Port Macquarie News, AUS


A DEADLY fungus believed responsible for attacking the east coast's green tree frog population could be felt in Port Macquarie. Southern Cross University PhD candidate David Newell says the fungus called amphibian chytrid affects the skin and damages internal organs, paralysing the frog and eventually killing it. "The fungus is right along the east coast, so potentially there are sick frogs turning up in Port Macquarie," he said. Mr Newell is encouraging people to report cases of sick frogs to the National Parks and Wildlife Service in a bid to build up information about the disease. The fungus usually attacks frogs in high elevation rainforest streams where deaths are largely undetected, but this year's cooler winter has resulted in the fungus becoming more virulent in a range of low election, relatively common species such as the green tree frog. The National Parks and Wildlife Service has listed the chytrid fungus under the Threatened Species Conservation Act in a bid to formulate strategies to halt its spread. Mr Newell said there had been reported spates of the disease among green tree frog populations but the fungus could be catastrophic in other species with smaller populations. The disease, which was discovered in 1998, can be spread through the movement of frogs in produce and garden supplies. "It is estimated that many thousands of frogs are moved around the country in banana boxes each year," he said.

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When it comes to mushrooms, a Prague composer knows the score
By Katka Krosnar For The Prague Post (December 18, 2003)

Deep in a forest on the outskirts of Prague, Vaclav Halek stands above a small cluster of mushrooms, pen poised above a sheet of music paper. Within seconds he is rapidly scribbling notes, stopping only to chuckle delightedly, his hand waving in the air as if conducting an orchestra. Ten minutes later he has completed a score, "sung" to him by the Tubaria hiemalis (Krzatka zimni) below. Half a mile along it's the same refrain, as Halek gently clears leaves and other debris from around his chosen specimen, stands back and calmly waits. This time, the single tiny Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca (Listicka pomerancova) inspires a more serious composition.
It's a process the mushroom-mad composer has repeated for two decades, insisting his special gift allows him to tune in to the fungi and pick up their musical signals. "Each type of mushroom has a different melody; it's their way of expressing themselves," says Halek, 66. "At first the music starts gently but then it grows stronger."
Swinging a large basket containing a German mushroom encyclopedia over one arm and clutching his pen and paper in the other, Halek looks utterly content as he makes his way through the forest. Pausing and standing stock-still above the mushrooms, lost in concentration, he may cut an odd figure and attract bemused stares from passers-by, but he is deadly serious about his passion.
A professional composer by trade until his retirement in 1997, Halek estimates that he has collected the melodies of 1,700 different types of wild mushrooms across the country, and says he will manage at least several hundred more of the remaining 1,300.
Halek says he has no particular favorite mushroom or melody. "The great thing is that they are all different," he says.
Back home in his fifth-floor Prague apartment, Halek sits down at his grand piano and bashes out the melodies he has just composed in the forest. The first tune he calls "a wonderful, completely jokey piece of music" suitable for the violin; the second is a melody for flute, "about enjoying freedom but knowing that it will end soon."
His focus on fungus began when he went mushroom-picking as a child with his parents and grandmother in Prague Suchdol and in Sobotka, central Bohemia. But it wasn't until 1980 that he stumbled on his gift.
"A microbiologist friend of mine took me on a field trip to photograph and document mushrooms. He asked me to look through the lens at a Tarzetta cupularis [Zvonecek sadni] to see if everything was properly set up, and as I did so, suddenly I heard music, as if a whole symphony orchestra were playing.
"At first I just couldn't understand what was happening but then I realized it was the mushroom making the noise." Halek rushed for musical paper, noted what he heard and hasn't looked back since.
Unlike most who share the national passion for combing the forest for mushrooms, Halek does not eat his samples (though he does eat mushrooms obtained elsewhere).
Rare finds
His efforts over the past two decades have culminated in the publication of more than 40 of the compositions in The Musical Atlas of Mushrooms, a glossy new book complete with color photographs, full scores, an introduction to each type of fungus featured and an accompanying CD. One of the spotlighted mushrooms, Boletus junquilles (Hrib slamozluty), is so rare that Halek has seen it only once; another, Boletus spinari Hlav (Hrib spinaruv), was discovered so recently that it has not yet been registered internationally. As well as recording the individual melodies, Halek has composed two symphonies combining music from different fungi.
"One musician plays some of my work during his concerts, but the audience doesn't realize it is listening to music that was inspired by mushrooms," he says. That musician, violinist Jan Kvapil, does have his questions about the origin of Halek's music. "I can understand that Halek is inspired to compose when he stands in the peaceful surroundings of the forest, but that's not the same as hearing music directly from the mushrooms themselves," says Kvapil, a member of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra who plays on Halek's CD and occasionally performs the mushroom pieces with the Mysterium Musicum chamber trio. "But I have to say that Vaclav's music is very powerful and I really like what he writes."

 

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Tree Fungus Threatens Nut Industry
By Dana Rebik, KVAL News, Eugene Oregon


A tree fungus is spreading its way through the Willamette valley. Not only is it eating away at trees, it could soon be making quite a hole in the pockets of local hazelnut farmers.
The "black measles", or Eastern Filbert Blight fungus, has moved its way from the East Coast, to Washington and now into Oregon over the past 40 years. But it wasn't until this summer that it moved into our area.
"This branch is totally dead and diseased," says OSU extension horticulturist Ross Penhallegon as he examines a filbert tree at Ruff Park off 66th Street in Thurston.
The gaping black pustules and pock like bumps are fatal to all hazelnut and filbert trees. The fungus is spread by rain and wind, and could be devastating this winter.
As it moves its way closer and closer to the McKenzie River Valley, it also threatens nearby hazelnut farms. "The farmers have told me they're concerned," says Penhallegon. "Many of them depend on this industry as a living, not just a hobby."
Oregon produces 99% of all hazelnuts in the U.S. When hazelnut trees died off on the East Coast in the 1960's, the industry was forced to shut down. Penhallegon doesn't want that to happen here.
So now horticulturists are carefully watching the spread of the fungus, and doing what they can to control it. They clip and prune diseased branches, burn and remove some trees and spray others with a protective fungicide.
They want anyone who notices the fungus on any filbert or hazelnut trees to call the OSU extension office in Eugene at 682-4243.
It is not harmful to eat nuts from a diseased tree.
>yeah .... sez who?

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Splendor of Cooking with Mushrooms
Recipes from kitchen ‘s around the World but especially from Juergen Kuerten’s

MUSHROOM SPAETZLE (Homemade noodles)
Basic recipe:
Combine:
11/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg

In an electric mixer or large bowl, beat together:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup of milk, water or mushroom juice
add the flour mixture and beat well until you have an elastic batter. For MUSHROOM SPAETZLE either add 2 Tblsp. of mushroom powder to the flour mixture or chop a cup of cooked wild mushrooms and add to the egg mixture, and proceed.
Bring 6 to 8 cups of lightly salted water to a boil and pass the spaetzle dough through a colander with 8mm/5/16" holes into the boiling water. The spaetzle are done when swimming on the top. Place them into a dish and serve with a driesel of butter or place them into cold water, drain and sauté them in a pan with some butter or margarine until they have a light golden colour.
Spaetzle can be frozen and made days ahead.

A MUSHROOM CHICKEN RECIPE
Combine:
· 1 10 ¾ ounce can of mushroom soup (lite is optional)
· 1 16 ounce can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
· 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream (lite is optional)
· ½ cup Sherry (NOT cooking sherry. It is too salty.)
OR
· ½ cup Marsala wine
Pour mixture over
· 4 whole skinless chicken breasts (2 if you prefer more sauce)
Bake covered 2 hours at 350°F in a casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Serve over rice or pasta.
From http://greenlightwrite.com/mushroomchicken.htm

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The North American Truffling Society.


What is NATS? NATS is a non-profit organization that brings together amateurs and professionals who are interested in hypogeous (belowground) fungi. The mission of NATS is to enhance the scientific knowledge of North American truffles and truffle-like fungi, and promote educational activities related to truffles and truffle-like fungi.
Why should I join NATS? All NATS activities are free and open to the public. NATS members receive a bimonthly newsletter, postcard notification of upcoming events, and the peace of mind that comes with supporting the NATS mission.
How do I join NATS? Send a check for $10 payable to "NATS" to P.O. Box 296, Corvallis, OR 97339.
Upcoming Forays: Saturday, Jan. 24. To Paul Bishop's (Jones Creek) tree farm, Mollala, OR. Meet at the terminus of 7th street (3 blocks north of Harrison in Corvallis) at 8 am to carpool or at Paul's place about 10 am. Directions to Paul's: About 4.5 miles north of Mulino on Hwy. 213, turn east on Leland Rd. (there is a traffic signal), follow Leland about 4 blocks to a right turn on Dan's Rd. Access to Paul's place is straight off the end of Dan's Rd., there will be a sign.
Upcoming Meetings: Tuesday, Feb. 10. OSU Richardson Hall Room 313, 7:30 pm. Speaker TBA.
Tuesday, March 9. OSU Richardson Hall Room 313, 7:30pm. Speaker TBA.
Check out our truffle photopack, now online at the Cascade Mycological Society website.

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Snippets of Wisdom

Look around when you have got your first mushroom or made your first discovery: they grow in clusters.
George Pólya ...Born: 13 Dec 1887 in Budapest, Hungary
Died: 7 Sept 1985 in Palo Alto, California, USA


"I know a planet where there is a certain red-faced gentleman. He has never smelled a flower. He has never looked at a star. He has never loved anyone. He has never done anything in his life but add up figures. And all day he says over and over, just like you: 'I am busy with matters of consequence!' And that makes him swell up with pride. But he is not a man--he is a mushroom."
SAINT-EXUPERY, ANTOINE, THE LITTLE PRINCE, VII

Life is too short to stuff a mushroom
Shirley Conran (b. 1932), British designer, journalist. Superwoman, epigraph

You must grow like a tree, not like a mushroom.
Janet Erskine Stuart

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