Fairy Rings and Harvesting of Mushrooms

Jerry Haugen mycowrld at cdsnet.net
Sun Jan 5 02:03:33 EST 1997

Susan Jane Hogarth wrote:
> DanielG979 wrote:
> > To underscore my main point: ONLY CUT THE STEMS OF MATURE MUSHROOMS!!!
> That wouldn't work very well for puffballs, would it?
> --
> Susan

This thread about how fairy rings grow and how or how not to harvest
wild mushrooms seems to me to be a pretty good demonstration of how
little we really know about such things.  I would like to add three 
points about picking techniques:

(1) If one leaves the picking to nature, it can be pretty messy.  I've
seen some spots where deer have 'picked' matsutake and it would
embarrass the worst of the human pickers.  Deer tend to paw around with
their hooves and basicly dig up the mushrooms.  The stems get pretty
torn up in the process.  Rodents do cut the stems in their own way, but
they also can leave an open tunnel down to the mycelium.

(2) Most commercial shiitake growers prefer to pick (twist) the
mushrooms rather than cut them from their substrate.  They find that
using a knife leaves a part of the stem which decomposes and essentially
provides a pathway for contaminants to enter the block.  This is much
more obvious in the farm than in the forest.

(3) The US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management published a
little brochure in 1995 entitled "Mushroom Picking . . . What Makes a
Good Harvest."  In it they recommmend three techniques, depending upon
species: "rock and twist" (which would work for puffballs), "cut" (which
they picture as being applied to morels), and "pop" (using a small
knife-like tool). Other than for morels, the brochure doesn't match
techniques with species. 

Jerry Haugen
The Mushroom Growers' Newsletter
P.O. Box 5065
Klamath Falls, OR 97601
MycoWrld at cdsnet.net

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