Tag Archives: truffle hunting

Sparky’s Tip of the Week #2 – Whistles

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Tips by Sparky

Sparky’s Tip of the Week #2 – Whistles

Sparky has decided to write his own  outdoor column called “Sparky’s Tip of the Week”. He hopes you enjoy some of his insights.

What kind of whistle do I need?

Good question! If you are heading out to the forest, you must have a whistle. Traditionally, the most common whistle is the pea whistle;

Pea Whistle

you know the one with the little pea inside the whistle. However, you want the loudest whistle available, and one that is heard over a long distance. I have two recommendations; both can be purchased from REI either in their store or on their website at www.rei.com.

 

 

 

1. Rescue Howler by SOL—110 dB audible over 1 mile. (carry ear plugs)

Rescue Howler by SOL

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Tri-Power Whistle by REI—produces three different pitches and is very loud.

Tri-Power Safety Whistle

 

Sparky recommendations: Sparky make me carry both of these whistles whenever I am in the forest. If I am separated from the group or get into trouble, the whistle is to call for help. Again, purchase a single function whistle. Expect to pay $4-5 each.

Remember: 3 blasts on the whistle mean “Help! I am in Danger!! Send Help!”

Purchase at any good outdoor store like REI

Sparky says: join Steve at www.tourswithsteve.com for a mushroom tour. Click here for a free emailed brochure.

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Sparky’s Tip of the Week #1 – Compasses

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Sparky’s Tips

Sparky has decided to write his own outdoor column called “Sparky’s Tip of the Week”. He hopes you enjoy some of his insights

Sparky’s Tip of the Week #1 – Compasses

If you are heading off to the forest without a guide, you need a good compass—your life may depend on it. Walking through the forest is not the same as walking down the street in a city. There are no signposts and often no trails. If it is cloudy or raining, direction becomes difficult to impossible to figure out. Your only means of direction is using your compass. Wear your compass on a lanyard around your neck so it is easy to find and use. Lanyards are easy to find at an outdoor store.

Compass—What to look for:

  • Bezel degree intervals—compasses with needle use a magnetized needle that aligns with the earth’s magnetic field. The bezel outer ring is mark in degrees from 0 °-360 ° degrees.
  • Liquid filled—for a steady needle to allow precise compass readings.
  • There are other optional features to get with your compass depending upon your budget.
    • Declination adjustment
    • Ruler
    • Map scales
    • Luminous needle and bezel ring
    • Clinometers
    • Sighting mirror
    • Global needle—for use in the Southern Hemisphere

 

 

 

Compass—What you do not need:

  • Combination compasses with whistle and mirrors or any other accessory are useless – unless you want to explore your fenced backyard. These compasses are too small to be practicable and the whistles are not loud enough to hear unless you are standing next to the person who is blowing it. If you want a compass and whistle, purchase them separately and get good quality. Your life may depend upon them.

 

 

 

What do you really need?

Sparky says you need a big enough baseplate compass that has large readable Bezel degree intervals and a directional arrow. Liquid filled is a bonus. All the other option, bell & whistles are wonderful but not necessary. My Boy Scout compass that I have used for over 50 years is not liquid filled and works great.  Expect to pay $14 and up. Any good outdoor store                                                like REI, Cabella’s, L. L. Bean

Baseplate Compass

Take a basic navigation class, too. Having a compass on you will do you no good if you do not know how to use it. You are just as lost as if you did not have one. In addition, you can get your 15 minutes of fame on local TV News when the Search & Rescue people have to find you.

Sparky’s says Steve at ToursWithSteve.com teaches basic compass navigation before heading out into the forest. Click here to get a brochure e-mailed to you.

 

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Weekly Mushroom Report as of February 16, 2012

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Weekly Mushroom Report as of February 16, 2012

This is a new, regular feature to this blog. It will be a periodic update of mushrooms available for harvest. Reporting will only cover areas in and around the Mt Hood National Forest and adjacent private lands unless otherwise noted.

No, we will not be giving directions to specific areas.

This report is based upon my own finding and in conversation with other foragers in the trade. It is not meant to be an exhaustive lists but rather to give you an idea what is available. We hope you enjoy this new feature and we welcome your comments and additions.
The bad news for this report is it appears that the Oregon Winter white truffles have completed their seasonal fruiting. What is found is in advanced stage of decay. The good news is while hunting Oregon Spring White Truffles, they are beginning to fruit in abundance in the foothills of the Cascades. What I have seen so far is not quite ripe but in another week or so should be prime. We are hoping for a long season as long as the rains continue.

Black truffles, sad to report, are having a terrible year. It is with great effort that any truffles are being harvested. It appears to be part of the natural cycle of on and off years. The dry weather in late autumn and early winter did not help either.

Two species of edible mushrooms are still being reported thought quality and quantity appears to be diminishing.

Here is a list of mushrooms and truffles. Species are listed with common name first and then botanical name:

1. Oregon Black Truffle –Leucangium carthusianum

Oregon Black Truffle

2. Oregon White Spring Truffle –Tuber gibbosum

Oregon White Truffle

3. Yellow foot—Cantharellus tubaeformis

4. Hedgehog Mushrooms –Hydnum repandum

Tours with Steve

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Weekly Mushroom Report as of Jan 30, 2012

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Weekly Mushroom Report as of Jan 30, 2012

This is a new feature to the blog. It will be a periodic update of mushrooms available to harvest. Reporting will only cover areas in and around the Mt Hood National Forest and adjacent private lands unless otherwise noted.

No, we will not be giving directions to specific areas.

This report is based upon my own finding and in conversation with other foragers in the trade. It is not meant to be an exhaustive lists but rather to give you an idea what is available. We hope you enjoy this new feature and we welcome your comments and additions.
Here is a list of mushrooms and truffles. Species are listed with common name first and then botanical name:
1. Oregon Brown Truffle –Leucangium brunneum
2. Oregon Black Truffle –Leucangium carthusianum
3. Oregon White Truffle –Tuber oregonense
4. Yellow foot—Cantharellus tubaeformis
5. Hedgehog Mushrooms –Hydnum repandum

Tours with Steve

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Albertina’s Restaurant Chefs’ Dinner featuring Oregon Truffles

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On Thursday January 12, 2012, Albertina’s Restaurant in Portland hosted a Chefs’ Dinner featuring Oregon Truffles. Yours truly provided the Oregon Black Truffle (Leucangium carthusianum) for this event.

It was an outstanding five course dinner paired with some amazing wines from Lejon Wine Cellars.

This was a leisurely event interspace with delicious food, paired wines to each dish and great conversations. The food course were as follows:
Chilled Lobster Salad—with endive truffle marmalade with Lujon Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Gris ‘09

with endive truffle marmalade

 

Ham Three Ways—Tuna prosciutto, Iberian ham and smoked duck ham with Lujon Cellars Columbia Valley Red Blend ‘09

Tuna prosciutto, Iberian ham and smoked duck ham

Pear Vanilla Granita—to clean the palette (yummy)

Truffle Crusted Halibut—with red and golden beets and purple carrots paired with Lujon Cellars Spofford Station Vineyard Syrah ‘08

with red and golden beets and purple carrots paired

Elk Osso Bucco—with mushroom duxelle ravioli, shaved truffle cheese and fresh shaved black truffle paired with Lujon Cellars Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon ‘08

with mushroom duxelle ravioli, shaved truffle cheese and fresh shaved black truffle

Salt and Straw Truffle Ice Cream—salted caramel powder and sesame crisp for dessert. (sorry no picture, it looked and smelled so good I neglected to take a picture)

Chefs included:
Alex Diomis—executive chef at Albertina’s Restaurant www.AlbertinaKerr.org
Brian Landry—executive chef at Bamboo Sushi, Portland
Kit Zhu—Prairie Creek Farm and executive chef
Kim and Tyler Malek—Salt and Straw ice cream show featuring cold creations
Wines provided by John Derthick of Lujon Wine Cellars, visit www.lujonwinecellars.com
At the conclusion of dinner, Steve gave a short talk about truffle hunting, ethical and sustainable collecting practice and answered questions.

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Hunting for Wild Mushrooms on Mt. Hood

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I have been thinking about doing a MT. Hood mushroom adventure tour for some time now.  It finally rained the past weekend and that is good news. The weather has been so nice of late….for sun bathing, boating, hiking, camping, and picking blueberries—but not very good for mushroom hunting. The forest is prime for huckleberries picking right now, especially above 4,000 ft elevation. It has been one of the best seasons in recent years. I saw hillsides covered in huckleberries last weekend.
I always seem to get itchy this time of the year to go hunting, hunting for mushrooms. I actually found my first autumn fungi on August 31 this year.  I found two edibles, Chanterelle and Sulfur Shelf or Chicken of the Woods mushrooms. The Sulfur Shelf is only good when very young and tender. This was. I had never tried cooking and eating it before. It was good. I made up a new wild mushroom recipe to cook it, which I will post later. Of course, I found several other species of mushroom but none of them was edible. The autumn mushrooms are starting later this year because of the late starting spring and summer. It seems everything is 2-3 weeks late this year. I expect this to be a good mushroom season once it gets started.
Here are some ideas for you if you ever wanted to know more about those elusive funguses growing in the forest, come join our small group tours for a fun tour and fungus finds.

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