There are many adventures to be had on the Oregon Coast–most of which has to do with the coast itself. However, the ocean is minute in the grand scheme of the activities to engage in on the coast. The pacific northwest is also home to ancient old growth forests that offer access to beautiful hikes and walking trails. A careful observer may notice strange, mystical fungi growing on the side of these trails, many of which would serve as a fantastic alternative to store bought mushrooms. But how does one go about foraging on the Oregon Coast?
Although mushroom hunting is a splendid, all around experience, it can be very dangerous, simply due to the fact that mushrooms are commonly poisonous. Thus, the first step one should take in hunting for edible fungi is research. Before going into the field, make sure you are aware of the “steer clear” species of mushrooms. This guide is very comprehensive, and will give you a basis of common edible mushrooms that you may come across. Most guides will also advise you to bring a pocket knife along, such as using a knife to harvest mushrooms, as the rest of the fungus will remain unharmed.
So you’ve done your research, but where do mushrooms actually grow–here on the coast? A basic rule of thumb when searching for mushrooms is understanding the environments that they enjoy the most. Fungi love old growth forests! Old growth forests, to our pleasure, are fairly common on the Oregon Coast. The Siuslaw National Forest is a great example! Home to large trees, lush ground, and plenty of decomposing stumps and foliage, mushrooms love the Siuslaw National Forest. That being said, almost any forest will produce fungi–some just happen to be better than others. So feel free to explore!
So you’ve gone out, and you’ve foraged yourself some edible fungi! Now what? It is always important to double check your finds with your field guides, before you think about eating them. After you’ve done this it’s time to throw your mushrooms in a pan! Sautéing your mushrooms is the general approach to curating a tasty meal with your finds. Thus, all you really need is oil and a pan, to extract the juices and isolate that scrumptious and unique taste. But be sure to be experimental! Here are a few mushroom recipes that might be worth checking out!