This week’s Grant’s Getaway entices and intrigues, but it also offers a dining reward as we join a pro who knows where to find Oregon’s state mushroom called Chanterelles.
Longtime chef and local restaurateur and all around Oregon adventurer, Leather Storrs, figures it’s simple:if you want to harvest wild mushrooms, learn their habitat. In the Tillamook State Forest – where sun and shadow dance through the towering Doug fir trees while Storrs’ well-trained eyes are fixed down close to the ground where there’s a culinary reward.
Chanterelles have a golden-orange hue and their chalice shape make them hard to spot – but their allure is a woodsy flavor that’s hard to resist. Since 1999, the gorgeous fungi have been Oregon’s official State Mushroom. Chanterelles are not the only mushrooms in the forest. Storrs, an experienced mushroom hunter said that there are dozens of other mushrooms that grow here and most are none too friendly to people and many are downright dangerous.
Leather Storrs may not be an old, bold mycologist, but he is one of Portland’s finest chefs. His restaurant, Noble Rot, set in NE Portland, is where Storrs has mastered the art of cooking a wild chanterelle recipe that can be paired with many other foods.
Storrs is a big believer that the meals that you contribute to are the most rewarding – that is, the ones connecting you and tie you to the source of your food. There’s something exciting and magical that comes about when you find it and prepare it and when you share it with friends and family – I don’t think it can get much better.”
The Oregon Department of Forestry allows you to harvest up to one gallon of wild mushrooms on state forestlands, but any more than that, you are considered a commercial picker and must buy the $100 permit at any state forestry office.
Storrs stressed critical safety points if you choose to head into the forest at this time of year – First, pick only mushrooms that you know are safe. If you don’t know go with someone who is experienced and does know or take a mushroom ID class. (He suggested the Cascade Mycological Society.) Storrs also suggested that mushroom hunters who are in unfamiliar territory stay close to the road and never out of earshot of the road traffic.
Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Thursdays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network.
About the Author: Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.