Ending and Beginning is what we're supposed do at this time of year, along with the obligatory resolution or two. So, let's get started.
The "Ending" part would have to start with a review of our year in mushrooming. The Spring had nothing really memorable to report, but the Fall was definitely one to remember - a banner year for Matsutakes and Chanterelles. The Boletes didn't really come through for us this year, and we only found one Cauliflower, and that one rather small, but the Chanterelles and Matsutakes - WOW! We can only hope that 2011 will be as good... asking for better would border on greedy.
A basketful of chanterelles
always brings a smile to
Our look back would also have to include a review of our travels. No major trips this year (they will come in 2011!), but a lot of travel around our Pacific Northwest for various business and personal reasons, and a quick trip to California to visit family (my much-loved aunt) and lifelong friends, plus a short visit to Death Valley National Park, a first for both of us. That latter jaunt was an eye-opener, not what we expected, and spectacularly beautiful in its way... but we wouldn't want to go in summer!
Our travels exposed us to a number of wonderful restaurants, some new to us and some old favorites revisited, that we thoroughly enjoyed. Mary's talents in Internet research led us to some delightful surprises, but every once in a while, pure dumb luck and a strong hunch or two led us to real "finds," too. Some of these are now included in our popular restaurant review section, with more on the way. And in this regard, we've resolved to "bend" a principle: until now, doing something nice with mushrooms has always been a prerequisite, but we've decided to add a section for those rare restaurants that neglect the fungal universe but earn recognition for other reasons. Stay tuned.
Everyone loves mushroom soup.
Our webshop has continued to grow, with mushroom-themed fabrics a category that's become especially popular. We've expanded our sources for these, and are adding new ones regularly. Products made from them - aprons, napkins and the like - have been well-received, too, and will expand along with our selection of fabrics. More people than ever have taken up the challenge (and needle and thread) to make their own fashion statement by sewing a pillow, shirt or blouse from fungal fabrics. A word for those procrastinators out there (and you know who you are!): don't dither. If you see a fabric you like, act quickly. Fabric availability is not long term; a manufacturer's run is a one-time thing in all but a few cases, and is rarely repeated (when it's gone, it's gone!). We have sadly watched several of our favorites disappear into fond memories this year.
Cooking has always been a core part of this website, and our recipe of the month section has found a wide and appreciative audience. Our recipe contest had the biggest response ever this year (now to choose a winner - a daunting task if ever there was one!). We'll continue this, of course, for 2011.
With this website, we always try to include news and information for those who share our enthusiasm for the fungal, and this will continue, too, with some species-specific articles added, and also some features from other enthusiasts that we think are particularly worthy. One of these will be "Tizzy's Tips," a regular posting from a long-time correspondent whose hard earned knowledge of the mushroom world has made us more knowledgeable, and will do the same for you. Check it out!
Our most spectacular find this season!
I mentioned resolutions, too, so here is one: to continue and enhance our efforts to make this site timely and relevant; to reward the time you spend visiting us with information, ideas and opportunities you might not find elsewhere. And here's one more: to continue and increase our activism for sane and reasonable conservation efforts; an important ingredient in this is to encourage the various government entities to end needless regulation of recreational mushroom gathering, and focus such attention on commercial harvest, which - particularly when done in larger groups - is too often allowed to pillage the resource and, potentially, its future viability. We hope our readers will do the same; officials do respond eventually to sufficient pressure (hint: well placed, reasonable articles and guest editorials often carry much more weight than simple letters directly to the individuals and groups responsible).
Clusters of yellow feet appeared in January.
As always, we appreciate the input of our readers, and depend on it for ideas on how we can make our website more valuable to you. Please let us hear from you!
So with that, we bid 2010 a fond adieu, and ring in 2011 with much anticipation. It's been a great ride so far, and we look forward to an even better ride ahead!
- Steve 12/31/10