Mushroom season is in full swing..
The summer mushrooms were late, but now everything is shooting up at once! Every year, a scramble of some sort.. Lots of rain and almost enough sunshine, some wind - ideal conditions in many parts of the province, too wet in others. The pickers really have to time their picking.
Chanterelles, Lobster and Pied de Mouton are coming in by the crate. Yellow-foot chanterelles and various boletes too.
In fact there is a Chanterelle glut in the market now, imagine. This is good for the consumer (take advantage!), but no one else, never sustainable with people dumping their load, at best trying to cover costs. Maybe if the supermarkets sold local mushrooms, there would be enough buyers, fair prices and foragers could count on a paycheck. Every Joe Blow with a chanterelle patch is trying to sell to François, who has his own; I doubt they will be around next year. Longevity requires knowledge, networks, years of loss. That's another story.
The Trompettes have been a struggle as always though. François spent a lot of time and milage on very few. Thankfully, there are the others! Five giant Vesse de loup so far - early (very promising). There has been a constant trickle of pholiottes, boletes (and cepes), but it's tricky to find the pristine ones, to get there at the right time, to work them while they're tops. We were lucky to harvest a good amount of Pied Glabrescent and Pied rouge, compared to other years, both favourites to stock up on for dessert with their butterscotch, nutty, chocolate, fruity aromas.
Many of the Gaspesie mushrooms are big, firm looking and juicy (the picture perfect mushroom but in effect, water-logged), making them ultra perishable, so we're avoiding those for now.. Hopefully, they won't give up because besides François, that gang is our best.
Talk about reduced yield when drying.. I'm looking at 5% yield here for many batches. 10% is the max on average with normal stock, so honestly, I don't know how the imports can be sold for so cheap. The staff must be making 10 cents an hour.
Anyway, it's worth it, our Quebec mushrooms are stellar. I have processed 200 lb so far this week, with a couple of hundred already under the belt. Only a ton to go.. Between the freshly cooked on menus, the pickled, the dried, the derived products. That doesn't count the market. And people wonder what I do when we're not open..
Must take more pictures.. My walk-in is a sight. I'm quite sure none of you have ever seen so many mushrooms.
Now that I'm starting to feel the mushroom mania mode, I will have my mushroom event menu up shortly. I better! The reservations are coming in and I haven't even planned it yet.. I always wait until I'm living it, breathing shroomy aromas day in and day out, holding off to the last minute until I have a very good feeling of how the season will go.. Still forever a guessing game, as many varieties are nowhere near ready..