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     Matsutake - Tricholoma magnivelare

                              Edibility: CHOICE

How To Identify White Matsutake - T. magnivelare

  This Mushroom is the meatiest of all mushrooms. Very thick, white flesh with slight browning around the base and stem. White ring present. Should be very firm, unless later in the season, where they begin to crack. The smell is described as Cinnamon heart candy, mixed slightly with a musk of dirty socks. I suppose thats the closest description ive heard. Very appealing scent. Once you've found and confirmed a couple of Pine Mushrooms, youll never mistake another mushroom. Be very careful if you are not already experienced, there are poisonous lookalikes. Make sure you have a guaranteed identity before ingesting these mushrooms.

    Cap: 2"-10", slightly convex, but becoming flatter and wider with age. The fluffy cotton like margin is folded up under the cap when young, stretching out to leave a patchy, white, veil ring on the stalk.

    Gills: Straight and crowded, attached to stem. White, but staining a slight brown with age

    Spore Print: White

    Season in the Pacific Northwest: Starts in August in the North, running until mid November some years. In the South coast of BC and Washington, they can be picked until December and January.

Poisonous Lookalike: Smiths Amanita - Amanita smithiana

Amanita smithiana - *** Poisonous lookalike of the Matsutake. Novice pickers will sometimes bring these back, because they didnt take time to check small details. The easiest way to differentiate the two, is by smell. The Pine Mushroom scent is unmistakable. Although the A. smithiana somewhat resembles the Matsutake, it grows from an egg, like other Amanita species. It is often smaller than Matsutake 

Cap: 1.5"-5", Slightly convex, round, hanging veil remnants, feels similar to felt

Gills: Slightly attached or free, crowded, and white in colour

Veil: The white universal veil, leaves cottony and wartlike patches on the cap, stem, and bulb as it matures. 

Spore print: White

Note * Doesnt grow as commonly in the far Northern reaches of British Columbia, more of a Southern PNW mushroom

The 2017 Foraging Season In The Pacific Northwest:

This was an unusual year for Pine Mushrooms in Northern BC. Trees that normally produce mushrooms, simply were not active this season. Others, fruited small flushes, usually no more than 1 or 2 mushrooms. Many pickers suffered and quit before the mushrooms even began to pop and the window of opportunity this season for everything, was much tighter than normal years. I foraged for 2 1/2 months, 5 days a week and covered hundreds of km on foot. I kept going out and never gave up, so my season was actually quite fruitful. Next year, hopefully things will return to normal and we'll see some large flushes. 

FUNGICOPIA HOLDS THE 2017 RECORD FOR LARGEST #1 BUTTON, 2.46LBS!!                                                            SO PROUD...

The Intrepid Forager: Episode 1 Matsutake

I have never been one to document my adventures with pictures or videos, so the editing and filming process is completely alien to me. I am learning quickly and the videos are getting better with time, so just bear with the quality. I want these videos to assist other enthusiasts with their foraging dreams! I hope you enjoy the Intrepid Forager series

Where To Find T. magnivelare?

In my experience, ironically, the Pine mushroom grows best, with Hemlock! It forms a beneficial relationship with many host tree species. Ive found them mostly with Hemlock, Douglas Fir, and Lodgepole Pine. They prefer old growth forests, 80+ years, but will be found in forests under 50 years of age. They will often grow several feet away from the base of the tree and can be seen most commonly bursting out of a healthy moss layer or stick mat. If you see a larger mushroom(A flag), have a look around the area, gently tapping lumps in the moss, you mind discover a button popping up!

 **DO NOT tear up the forest floor scraping around for mushrooms, that means no Caulk boots and no raking of the forest floor! This is one of the most harmful harvesting techniques to mycorrhizal mushroom species and you will certainly damage the fragile ecosystem below. Truffle and Pine Mushroom hunters are notorious for this, because the truffles grow under the surface of the F layer soil. 

Grows on the west coast from Alaska to Oregon, with my personal favourite hunting grounds residing in the British Columbia forests. It grows in mountainous regions, with the first flushes starting in the North and heading South as the cooler temps arrive. Often found at higher altitudes early in the season, working their way down the mountain as the temps continue to drop.

"The air was thick with mist and the moss covered the trot of my boots, as I scampered through the thick forested glades. Searching for hidden treasures..."

RIGHT: Harvesting #3s and 4s, careful to replace the moss and mycelium.

The Difficulties of Foraging Matsutake 

Pine mushrooms have always been popular in Japan and the domestic demand is increasing with every passing year. It is not an easy mushroom to forage, because it tends to grow on the sides of mountains in pine or hemlock forests(As you will see in my foraging videos). The buttons of this mushroom are typically buried under a layer of moss, so spotting them can be difficult at best. If there are mushrooms at the base of the mountain, you can bet someone else will have already taken their fill, these tend to be your grandfather patches. I dont like to compete with people when im out in nature, groovin, so I head way up the mountain where I climb mountain faces, get impaled by sharp hemlock, and face the constant threat of bears, cougars, and wolves. You need to navigate through raw wilderness, for hours and hours and be able to find your way out before dark. You really need to know what youre doing out there. It is not a comfortable time of year to camp in the Canadian Rockies, the nights are cold. It can be a terrible season, where the typical high yielding forest produces little to none. I use my own interpretation of sustainability, where I only forage perfect specimens and maintain the internal integrity of every forest ecosystem, I enter. This means the older mushrooms are left to continue dropping spores. These are some of the factors that determine the price.

When to find Matsutake in British Columbia

Timing is everything, when it comes to mushroom picking. Especially when it comes to Pine Mushrooms. People travel and camp for weeks on end, waiting for these beautiful mushrooms to pop up. Some, find nothing at all. Last year for example, we were picking full time in September and some years as early as August. This is not the norm however and people are in shock if they do not find them early in the season. I say the safest time to look for them in the North, is in the beginning of October. Once you have a heavy downpour of rain(40+mm) and the evening temperatures drop below 5 degrees Celsius, wait 24 hours and head out. Unless the rain has been consistent, in which case, head out every day. As long as the temperatures are right and the ground is sufficiently humid, these puppies will be growing, constantly. 

Cooking With: White Matsutake

Matsutake are an incredible delicacy! 

In fact, in terms of culinary appeal, they are different than all other mushrooms.They are extremely meaty, the steak of the mushroom world, for sure. Dropping them on the ground will only cause them to bounce, unscathed! The flavour and aroma are something you will never forget. Once youve consumed T.magnivilare, youll be hooked for life. A very delicate and unique flavour, which requires different cooking methods than most other mushrooms. No garlic, salt, pepper, and butter here! The smell is a mix of sweet, cinnamon heart candies and dirty socks. 

It is one of my favourite mushrooms to forage and although in recent years, it has been come quite competitive in the Northern reaches of BC, there is still, seemingly infinite areas to explore. On the west coast of Canada, 90% or more is shipped fresh to Japan, where the mushroom is appreciated to the fullest extent. Although Tricholoma magnivelare is not the true Japanese Matsutake(Which is revered as the best variety), it is still treasured and enjoyed by all. 

Although they have a delicate flavour, Matsutake can easily steal your heart. It all comes down to preparation techniques and cooking these mushrooms in butter and garlic, just wont do. Always remember that their flavour and aroma will be masked easily with sauces and garnishes. The traditional favourite method of eating Matsutake, is roasted on a charcoal grill or hibachi. This brings out the rich flavour and aroma that so many people crave. Listed below are some recipes that I enjoy. I hope you will enjoy them as well! 

Original IRON CHEF: Japan!!! Matsutake Battle #1

Iron Chef: Japan!!! Matsutake Battle # 2

Purchasing Fresh, Perfect, Nature Grown: Matsutake 

If you are interested in obtaining a fresh supply of Canadian Matsutake, we are able to ship overnight, to anywhere in Canada. We also offer Matsutake dried all seasons of the year.

Fresh Matsutake Prices:

#1 Grade buttons - $40 per lb

#2 & #3 Grade - $20 per lb

Wholesale prices available for bulk shipments

       Although buttons are preferred internationally, I find that larger, mature Matsutake are just as delectable. We do not pick #4, #5, or #6 to sell, as they do not meet our quality standards.

                             Email: fungiarethefuture@yahoo.com for orders