We’d heard about a spot in the forest that every year comes alive with porcini mushrooms. The bloom coincides with the winter’s first really good rain. It happens once, that is if it happens at all. A small coterie of Crescent City folks knows this and they prowl the hillsides religiously during early winter. I’d be hunted down like a rat if I told you more so I’ll conveniently spare you the details. How about you tag along and I’ll try to convey the fun at hitting it just right this year. Really, don’t try to pry any more details than what you find here. I won’t be the one who tells. 🙂
Here’s the tale, which starts unceremoniously with two gents, one named Charlie and one named Bill.
Charlie had told Bill and Bill had told us about this spot in a green-as-Ireland forest of pine, spruce, and fir where the king bolete grew wild. That first winter, Meg, me and Josh walked a while through the trees and grass and after criss-crossing the hillsides and flats scored a small bag’s worth of boletes (boletes and pocini, one in the same mushroom). We thought our find was about as good as it could get but we were wrong. It got way better. But it took a while.
After that first, wet winter, we became mired in drought. For three consecutive winters the rains let up. The fishing went south and the mushroom population plummeted. Winters were half-assed and rainless so we forgot about the porcini fields.
But this year the rains returned in a big way. October tallied just half an inch shy of an all-time record. But between caulking windows, cleaning gutters, positioning and repositioning tarps (even my tarps needed tarps), who had time to think about mushrooms?
He’d seen a few Amanita mushrooms on Monument Dr. as he approached the bnb and suggested we hit the old stomping ground in pursuit of the delectable porcini (which often blooms alongside the Amanita).
The rest is history.
We aimed the car toward our secret patch, parked, put on our galoshes and rain gear and went out into the trees.
The find was epic. I saw a small grouping and made a run for it. Then Meg saw some and gave out a yell. Then Jos stumbled on a few. We collected two shopping bags worth, left as many behind for others, vowed again to stay mum on our location, high-fived in silence and returned to the bnb to open a bottle of wine and cook up our find.
They’re out there now so get off your duff and hunt them down. But all I can offer is high hopes and a recipe or two. The secret patch stays secret.