After a swift trip to the East Village to have my hair cut by Izumi, I headed straight to Prospect Park, all ready in my thermal rainboots to look for oyster mushrooms in a steady drizzle. Frank had spotted a nice little nursery on a new (to me) log in the woods on Tuesday during our Litter Mob, and I thought they might about eating size today. The log is high, nowhere near ground level, and safe from cruising litter.
But I went into the park on a different path, new to me, keeping an eye on the unfamiliar woods to either side, just in case. Lifting my camera to take the first picture in this post, I suddenly stiffened. Too good to be true: way off the path was an entire tree full of oyster mushrooms. Squeal. Talk about safe from harm!
Many were still very small, and the highest ones were beyond reach. Someone else knows about this tree - (see below). Leda? Steve? I wonder when those were cut...
Once I had calmed down I went to work with my little knife. Good thing I wasn't searched on the subway. No, osiffer, really, I belong to Occupy the Woodland and this is purely a recreational knife.
The cops were out in full force today. Very bored cops, then (apparently the boredom is at an end).
I cut the highest ones - I am tall and others might not be able to reach those; I was able to leave many tiny mushrooms. The other forager might be coming back after a few days to collect them when they have grown.
There were more on a nearby log, nice and hidden behind some really thorny brambles.
And then these. We noticed them during our Mob on Tuesday, and I wanted to ID them, so brought a few home. Very slippery, with hollow stems. Honey mushrooms? I am taking a spore print, and we will see.
*Update: enokis, velvet foot, winter mushrooms! Confirmed by spore print: Flammulina velutipes. Edible.
Below, the nursery I had come to find. Since Tuesday they have quintupled in size. I gathered about a third.
So exciting. The thrill of the hunt, rewarded. And there was no one else around. The park seemed deserted, but for birds.
My innocuous mushroom bag.
Oyster mushrooms on the subway.
And in the kitchen.
Guess what's for dinner?
If would like to read more about why this is the best oyster mushroom season, here's my mushrooming story in Edible Brooklyn.