Our special guest blogger is back this week; Johanna Laggis of Laggis Brothers Farm. Read on to learn about mushroom hunting on the dairy farm.
A Mushroom Hunt
By: Johanna Laggis, dairy farmer at Laggis Brothers Farm in East Hardwick, Vermont
What do farmers do when it is too wet and rainy to make hay? They go mushroom hunting! This has been the perfect summer for slugs and mushrooms. We got almost 20 inches of rain in June, and it is still coming. Mushroom hunting is a lot more fun than getting depressed about the weather. Our fields and forests are full of edible fungi that are fairly easy to find, not to mention delicious and nutritious. In addition to the edibles, there are many medicinal mushrooms that can be made into tinctures and teas to keep us healthy all year long. There are poisonous mushrooms out there too, so it is best to forage with someone who knows what to pick before you collect and eat mushrooms. Once you learn how to identify a few common edibles, the fun begins.
Today I harvested several pounds of Cantharellus cibarius, the “Golden Chanterelle”. They will be delicious sautéed in butter and olive oil with fresh garlic scapes and the perfect accompaniment to the juicy steaks from our home grown beef. The rest of tonight’s meal will be new potatoes, swiss chard and salad, all from our garden. Fresh picked raspberries and blueberries with maple syrup on ice cream will round out the meal.
Later in the summer and into the fall I will harvest meadow mushrooms (Agaricus campestris) in the heifer pasture. These mushrooms are the wild cousins of the white button mushroom that you purchase in the grocery store. Their flavor is superb and they are easy to freeze or dry for winter consumption. Wild mushroom pizza is a great cold January night meal and a good reminder of the warmer days that made the mushrooms appear in the pasture.
These are just two of the many mushrooms that can be found in northern Vermont from May through November. Each species grows at different times and in different habitats. So, instead of getting upset with Mother Nature for dishing up too much challenging weather this summer, grab your mushroom basket and take the dog for a walk in the back forty. You’ll get exercise, see beautiful scenery and you might even come home with dinner!