Saturday, September 3, 2016
Field mushrooms of dreams
'If you build it, they will come' ... well, I built my dreams up when it came to field mushrooms this year, only to have them crash down around my head.
It was always going to be a risk as we were away on holiday for two weeks of guaranteed Greek summer sunshine at the start of August.
Back home, our first holiday week – from the last few days of July – was wet. The second, however, was dry and when we returned I went out mushroom hunting at the earliest opportunity, August 11th.
The meadow below us on the side of the valley, where the soil has probably remained undisturbed for decades, usually bears a bumper crop of field mushrooms. Two years ago I was able to collect as much as a kilo in one day.
Last year, however, the field was left ungrazed all summer and the grass was too long to collect mushrooms. So my hopes were raised for this season as I had a point to prove.
However, a grand total of nothing on the 11th was matched by a similar result on the 12th, the 14th and then every other day as my faithful companion and I searched in vain. Mushroom hunting – in this field at least – had turned in to simple dog walking.
Finally, on August 28th – a couple of days after some heavy rain – we found three. Followed by two more the following day. Then, after a few more fruitless days we gave up for the year.
I suspect that we missed the harvest while we were in Greece. It’s usually around the second and third weeks of August on this side of the valley but perhaps this year it was early.
However, all was not lost.