Me and some of the chanterelles we found on a good year (a few years ago)
Chanterelles are by far my favorite mushroom. They only grow in certain random patches in the woods, and come back in the same spot every year, after the first few rains of fall. People in Petrolia love chanterelles, and actually covet their secret chanterelle spots. Last winter I asked one my family friend’s about if they knew any good spots in the woods near our new house to find some (I have yet to find any there), and he sarcastically told me, no he “doesn’t know any spots”…yeah right! Not only are they delicious cooked with butter and garlic or in soup, but they remind me of childhood almost more than anything else.
I spent most of my childhood on Prosper Ridge. Before I was born, my parents, in wandering their newly bought land and the land around it, found a few treasured chanterelle patches deep in the forest. Since I can remember, one of my favorite memories is walking into the woods, with no path or directions, and knowing exactly where I am going to find some delicious mushrooms. My parents have taught my brother and I not only where the best spots are, but how to take care of the spot (cut the stem, don’t pull the whole mushroom up, and always leave a few so there will be more next year).
Many people who don’t have mushroom hunting (as they call it) experience are scared of poisonous mushrooms, and while it is a valid fear, I have never really considered it while hunting because I have known what a good mushroom looks like for my whole life. My parents were very careful about teaching us what poisonous ones look like. My great great aunt, who I never knew, died of eating poisonous mushrooms that she thought were fine, and when my grandmother found out years ago that my mom hunted mushrooms for our whole family to eat, she was scared. Needless to say, we don’t tell my grandma that we hunt mushrooms anymore.