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
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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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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The results are in from France's first truffle sales
of the season and they are worse than even the gloomiest
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
"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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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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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
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,"
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).
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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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
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
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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MUSHROOM SPAETZLE (Homemade
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,
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
Spaetzle can be frozen and made days ahead.
A MUSHROOM CHICKEN RECIPE
· 1 10 ¾ ounce can of mushroom soup (lite
· 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.)
· 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.
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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
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
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.
Check out our truffle photopack, now online at the Cascade
Mycological Society website.
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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
SAINT-EXUPERY, ANTOINE, THE LITTLE
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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