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Chanterelle Quest : Hunting and Gathering on the Coast

Joyce is really into it. Mushrooming that is. It’s quite the cult on the coast.
Here on the dry side, we don’t get nearly enough moisture to sponsor the kind of extravagant edible spore life that the Coast can engender. Like:
– Lobster
– Rosella
– Morel
and the prize: Chanterelle

The picture is of Joyce cradling one of her treasures. She has been going a little overboard. At last report, she has 100 lbs of Chanterelles this season. That’s like having 50 lbs of truffles: more than anyone should be allowed! But she is allowed, because she has harvested them responsibly through dint of effort.

She took us out through her patch. Which is saying a lot. These are zealously guarded secrets, these patches. If you happen upon a trove, you do not run screaming about it down to your neighbour. No, no! You disguise your moves. You dissemble about your stash. You cover your trail.

Now there are lots of types of mushrooms. Me, I’m beginning to tell the difference, but I’m far from adept. Of course, the big ones jumping out at you from the side of the trail – not interested. If they were good, they’d be gone!

Learning about their preferences. They like areas that have been disturbed. Don’t like cedars. It’s a very meditative state walking slow, looking carefully. Relaxed but alert. Knife and plastic sack at the ready.   When you see that butter yellow creeping out from under the deadfall – Bingo!

Some want to know about the psychedelic variety. All I know is that among this cohort, they are no longer interesting. That’s not to say that you can’t hear wild stories about folks finding a whole field of them near Duncan and getting completely stoked in days gone by at the Vancouver Folk Festival.
No, the edible conventionally stimulating ones are just fine now. Mushroom soup has a whole new dimension after this stroll. Campbell’s mushroom soup? Nice. Joyce’s Chanterelle soup? Priceless.

Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

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Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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