29 September 2010
Runners and Hunter-Gatherers
It's Indian Summer, warm, sunny and quiet. In the wooded sunken lane I run past an old man with a wicker basket.
'What are you gathering?'
'Oh, that's nice, lots of mushrooms here, too'
'No, don't do them, don't know much about mushrooms'.
Which is good for me, because I know about a dozen edible mushrooms and only pick the ones I'm sure of. On the sides of the lane and buried in the banks there are plenty of those, including ceps and birch boletes. They grow in the same spot year after year. Once you've discovered your spot, keep it secret and come back to pick your bounty.
As I run past my 'secret spot' I stop and give it a quick check. If there are fresh fungi, after the run I come back on a bike or in the car and do a harvest. The other day it was two pounds of delicious brown birch boletes, enough for a large casserole of soup and a filling fry-up with bacon, onion, garlic and potatoes, or parsley and cream.