• Publishers' Note Summer 2007

    Publishers' Note Summer 2007

    Vermont’s Local Banquet, inspired by our belief that local food is a gateway to stronger communities, will strive to be a meeting place for all those who enjoy eating, growing, raising, cooking, or selling locally grown food. Within these pages, each season, we hope to deliver stories and ideas that support and energize our region. We hope to provide ‘food for thought.’

    Continue Reading

  • 4th of July Feast

    4th of July Feast

    It’s that time of year again, when you grill your steak and hamburgers to perfection in  the backyard. I’m not sure which part I enjoy most – deciding which type of beef to eat, smelling the meat as it cooks, eating it, or realizing there’s almost nothing left to clean off the dishes!

    Continue Reading

  • Set the Table with Garlic

    Set the Table with Garlic

    Garlic has been called many things during its long history of cultivation by humans. “Stinky” may be the most common invective but perhaps a better way to describe this love-it-or-leave-it vegetable is patient. It can take nine months or more for some varieties of garlic to take root and grow, depending on climate. In the same amount of time in which a human baby forms in its mother’s womb, a single clove develops deep in the ground to become the white-sheathed bulb we pick up at grocery stores.

    Continue Reading

  • A Water Buffalo on Every Farm?

    A Water Buffalo on Every Farm?

    When David Muller founded the Woodstock Water Buffalo Company in 2002, he wasn’t sure  whether Riverine water buffalo, indigenous to southeast Asia and imported to Italy in the seventh century, would survive the Vermont winter.  No one in the United States – much less in chilly Vermont – had ever run a water buffalo dairy operation. But, Muller thought, if you can milk a Holstein up north, why not a water buffalo?

    Continue Reading

  • Trumpets in the Woods?

    Trumpets in the Woods?

    I have always enjoyed a treasure hunt. The thrill of discovery is surpassed only by the joy of seeking something unknown but special. In this instance, the treasures that draw me back, year after year, are the multitudes of mushrooms we are fortunate to have in New England. As the snow starts to melt in early spring, visions of fanciful fungi start to invade my thoughts.

    Continue Reading

  • The Chicken Event

    The Chicken Event

    It began simply enough:  I wanted to buy my neighbor’s chicken to serve at my Waitsfield restaurant.

    “Can’t,” responded my neighbor, Hadley Gaylord.

    “Why?”  I asked.

    Continue Reading

  • Revisiting the Traditional

    Revisiting the Traditional

    Imagine a place where 98% of households keep vegetable gardens, 97% have cows and poultry, 93% grow potatoes, 58% raise pigs and 54% have apple trees – all to provide food for the home. Imagine a place where maple syrup from the backyard provides sweetener for households, where hard cider from fresh apples provides continual refreshment, and where most local produce, berries and meat can be enjoyed year-round thanks to canning, pickling, and cellar storage.

    Continue Reading

  • Farmers' Kitchen—King Kale

    Farmers' Kitchen—King Kale

    It’s that time of year again, when you grill your steak and hamburgers to perfection in  the backyard. I’m not sure which part I enjoy most – deciding which type of beef to eat, smelling the meat as it cooks, eating it, or realizing there’s almost nothing left to clean off the dishes!

    Continue Reading

Trumpets in the Woods?

Illustration by Meg Lucas: Black Trumpet Mushrooms

Written By

Meg Lucas

Written on

June 01 , 2007

I have always enjoyed a treasure hunt. The thrill of discovery is surpassed only by the joy of seeking something unknown but special. In this instance, the treasures that draw me back, year after year, are the multitudes of mushrooms we are fortunate to have in New England. As the snow starts to melt in early spring, visions of fanciful fungi start to invade my thoughts.

With this in mind I collect my backpack, my field guide, and a small flat bottomed basket. Upon entering the woods near my home in Saxtons River, I step onto the forest floor and the earthy smell of decayed leaves and flowering mosses rise to greet me. My journey often takes me off the main path and I find myself negotiating my way over stone walls and fallen trees. The forest is quiet, save for the birds and the rush of the wind, and the pace is slow. I have found that these walks are meditative for me. With a keen eye, I experience the woods in ways I hadn’t before discovering mushrooming.

The best way to learn the art of mushroom identification is firsthand. Subtle differences between some mushrooms make it essential to turn to an expert for guidance. Our woods are home to many edible mushrooms but there are some poisonous and deadly ones, as well. Because there is no single feature that identifies a mushroom, you must examine all its parts and always make a spore print in order to identify it.  Spores are the tiny reproductive units of mushrooms.  Place the mushroom cap with the gill side down on a piece of white paper to make this print.  In a few hours to overnight, the cap will release its spores and you can check the results in your field guide. Better yet, take a local mushroom identification course (see sidebar).

At this time of year, from June to September, the Black Trumpet mushroom graces the forest floor. These mushrooms can be found in mixed woods, those made up of a wide variety of trees including coniferous and deciduous and often grow in wet mossy ground or on moss-covered, decayed coniferous logs. Because the Black Trumpet (Craterellus fallax), also known as the Black Chanterelle, blends so well with its surroundings, it may be hard to find at first.  The good news is that once you discover one of these gems, it’s likely there will be many more nearby.  True to its name, the Black Trumpet is dark brown to black and, on occasion, charcoal grey.  It reaches 2 to 4 inches in height and half as much in width.  Spore prints of this delicacy are white or cream.  Remember to always check your reference materials as you seek to identify the mushrooms you find. If there is any doubt, return them to the woods.

The Black Trumpet is easily identified and safe to eat. It has been a favorite of mine because of the delicate, almost apricot-like flavor it lends to dishes. It is also easy to dry and can be reconstituted when the need arises. Here I’ve included a recipe for wild mushroom risotto.  This dish can be made with fresh or dried mushrooms.  If you make this fragrant rice dish on a cold winter day, it will bring back fond memories of foraging in our summer woods.

Illustration by Meg Lucas: Black Trumpet Mushrooms

About the Author

Meg Lucas

Meg Lucas

Co-publisher Vermont's Local Banquet Magazine

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest. Optional login below.

What we do

A quarterly magazine devoted to covering local food, sustainable farming, and the many people building the Vermont food system.

Vermont's Local Banquet Magazine illuminates the connections between local food and Vermont communities. Our stories, interviews, and essays reveal how Vermont residents are building their local food systems, how farmers are faring in a time of great opportunity and challenge, and how Vermont’s agricultural landscape is changing as the localvore movement shapes what is grown and raised here.

Connect

Sign up for quarterly notifications and issue highlights.
Please wait