Size-wise, fall mushrooms beat their spring counterparts. As an example, Schroeder notes one of his favorites: the oyster mushroom, shown left, (Pleurotus ostreatus). With an up-to-12-inch-diameter, cream-hued cap, this variety typically grows in clusters.
“I’ll load up the family, hop in my truck and we can spot oyster mushrooms from a couple of hundred yards away,” he says. “We fill huge coolers with oyster mushrooms and use them in the restaurant.” Schroeder characterizes oyster mushrooms as having a milder flavor than some other wild varieties, “but it’s a delicious mushroom that’s easy to find, and our customers really like it.”
The king of the autumn mushrooms, however, is the hen of the woods (Grifola frondosa), according to Phil Tedeschi of the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club. “That’s the one we’re all looking for. It’s a large mushroom that averages 3 to 5 pounds, but they can get as large as 30 to 40 pounds,” he describes. See the current issue for the full story.