If I didn’t believe the buzz that this is a banner year for chanterelles, the paper grocery sack heavy with just-picked wild mushrooms would be all the proof I need.
Happily, this week’s A Fresh Approach column also was heavy on recipes for the coveted, trumpet-shaped mushroom. I figure the load I received from the newspaper’s resident mushroom forager, David Smigelski, could stretch over all four of Jan Roberts Dominguez’s dishes: polenta, rice, creamed corn and sauteed with chicken.
Or I could consult one of a dozen other recipes for chanterelles in our online Recipe Box. In reality, I’m more likely to pluck sliced chanterelles lightly browned in butter straight from the skillet before they can commingle with other ingredients. Oregon’s iconic wild fungus is just that good.
Support for a good cause also can come from purchasing fresh chanterelles Thursday at the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market in Medford. Forager Louis Jeandin of Mushrooms All Year says the local chapter of the American Cancer Society will receive his earnings from the day’s sales of fresh mushrooms, which stands to be several hundred dollars.
“All of us know people with cancer,” he says.
Jeandin says he got the idea from a woman who solicits donations for charity around the market every year. He says he hopes other vendors will follow suit and acknowledges that the gesture may entice more customers to the market.
“The market brings healthy food … medicinal mushrooms,” says Jeandin, calling his wares “wild-crafted and delicious.”
Charging $5 per pint basket for fresh mushrooms, Jeandin also sells a variety of dried mushrooms, which will not be counted toward his donation. While most mushroom lovers crave spring’s morels, fall truly is the time for the largest quantities and varieties of wild mushrooms.
“It’s a great chanterelle year — fantastic,” says Jeandin.