Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rick's Wild Mushrooms at Vancouver Farmers Market
Spring-like sunny weather drove people out of their homes Saturday, and many flocked to Vancouver Farmers Market. For some, early spring is about green onions or the first asparagus. Others' springtime indicator is all about morel mushrooms and, for that,  Rick's Wild Mushrooms is the place to go.
Because most of the mushrooms he harvests are foraged and are not easily mass-produced, Rick provides highly sought after morels, chanterelles,  porcinis, and others in season. 
Rick said he can offer fresh mushrooms for several months each year, much longer than their short harvesting season would normally allow. When asked how he does it, he said, "We go up really high". With snow sometimes still on the ground in July in Southwest Washington's Cascade Range, it makes perfect sense.
Without an internet listing or even a publicized phone number, Rick has no trouble selling his specialty mushrooms, fern fiddle-heads and nettle greens. Later will come wild huckleberries. 
The products he doesn't sell at the market or at Vancouver Food Co-op, he markets to specialty restaurants. According to Shawn Merrill at the co-op, certain varieties of mushrooms also freeze well, and can be found year-round at the co-op. Among them are the chanterelles, porcinis, and matsutakes.
 If you're a mycovore, you may consider joining the Puget Sound Mycological Society, and learn how and where to become a forager yourself.

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