Yesterday during my afternoon stroll I found myself tromping down to the stream bank not far from the house. In the summer a tangle of undergrowth by the road makes it a prickly mess to enter, but fall's thinning makes for easy access to the forest floor. The hill slopes gently to the stream and opens to a conifer canopy creating a dark and enchanting environment. The mosses were thriving in the cool moistness of the pine's shade, nourishing themselves on fallen needles. It was there on a plateau near a tributary trickling down to the banks that I found myself surrounding by a fairy ring of mushrooms.
I don't really know much about foraging mushrooms, except from stories of my mother's childhood in the woods of the Swiss Alps. I've had the fortune of dinning on black trumpets with friends along the lake of Geneva and admiring collections of wild things at markets. Out in the wilds myself, alone on top it, my exploration stop at fraise de bois, raspberries, black berries and the ocassional dandelion shoot. Certainly don't want to end up sick for days, or worst dead from an innocent mistake. What drew me to these beauties, I'm not sure. Something about them, the way they were growing, on moss and dead wood, in a ring, gave me a clue. Jumping on the internet they kept looking like winter or yellow footed chanterelles. Everything about them matched up. I went back and collected more, took photos determined to verify my find.
My "mushrooms of the northeast" search on google came up with Ari and Jenna who run The Mushroom Forager in Vermont. Their quick and enthusiastic response with confirmation of my yellow foot chanterelles was a delight. Can't wait to cook these up with butter and white wine over pasta tonight. The rest I'll dry up for winter. Yum!