Taking Root #36

Mushrooms Main Menu at Munch Night
By Gini Bramlett
For the Calapooia Food Alliance

The Calapooia Food Alliance will be starting 2016 with a bang. To begin, the CFA will be offering its monthly “Munch Night” event on Friday, January 22 at 6pm. If you enjoy finding and eating wild mushrooms, this one’s for you. Dinner will feature various delectable dishes all containing mushrooms; some wild and some farm-grown, but all adding a richness to a plethora of dishes offered to guests. All dishes are home-cooked by the CFA board of directors.

We are blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest where wild mushrooms are there only for the taking, provided one knows how and where to find them. The most important criteria for locating them are where there is moisture. Consequently, almost any time of the year – during or after a good rain – is suitable to hunt mushrooms.
The majority of the some of the best edible wild mushrooms grow near specific types of trees types such as: hedgehog mushrooms and King boletus grow near pines, chanterelles can be found associated with oak trees, and oyster and honey mushrooms can be found in the vicinity of aspen, poplar and willow trees.

I’ve heard people say that mushrooms can only be found in wooded areas, but that’s not entirely true. If it’s damp, mushrooms can potentially grow there. If you learn to identify the trees where you find mushrooms, it can help you locate them and also help with your process for identifying wild mushrooms. In addition to woodlands and forests, mushrooms can be found in pastures, meadows, burned areas, lawn and gardens, manure piles and even deserts, as long as moisture is present.

A few of the more popular mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest are: black morel, chicken of the woods, golden chanterelle (aka chanterelle), hedgehog mushroom and horn of plenty. Check field guides and/or the internet for more listings.
All in the community are invited to join us at the January “Munch Night,” and learn something new, enjoy conversation with like-minded company and support a good cause. Consider spending an evening enjoying a home meal cooked just for you by the CFA board, and enjoy the program for a donation of only $10 per person.

More details will be forthcoming in the next column on location and the program.
FREE “Seed to Supper” Garden Classes Offered

Another CFA supported program this year is “Seed to Supper” in association with Oregon State University Extension Service Master Gardener ™ Program, and in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank. “Seed to Supper” is a FREE comprehensive five-week beginning gardening course that gives novice, adult gardeners on a limited budget, the tools and confidence they need to successfully grow a portion of their own food. Two of our own CFA members have volunteered to help teach this course.

Classes meet for two hours once a week for five weeks. At the first week’s class, participants will be given a gardening booklet that is theirs to keep. At the completion of classes, participants may also be given seeds and/or plant starts to take home.
Over the course of five weeks participants learn about building healthy soil, planning, planting, and caring for their garden and harvesting and using their bounty.

The next “Seed to Supper” classes will be scheduled for February or March of 2016

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