Shaggy Manes, Autumn Olives, and Hickories

Amidst a weekend of meetings some BRDC crew managed to get outside and do some exploring. Here's a description of discoveries offered by Scott, with some photographs snapped on an I-phone (?) by Eva Baird:

"A little after noon, on the 17th of October, Devin and Aaron Floyd, Eva Baird, and Scott Jackson-Ricketts met in Mouth of Wilson to plan a walk. Resulting from a conversation between the brothers Floyd [and Eva B.] of the previous night, we decided to 'test' the idea of harvesting as a theme for outdoor experience. The details of this were discussed throughout the afternoon, including a harvest calendar based upon accumulated information through time.

A large sprouting of shaggy mane mushrooms was spotted along the highway between MOW and Grant, to which the adventurous four headed. After seeking permission to pluck some 'shrooms' from the property owner, we went at it.

From there we headed to the Floyd house to further harvest Autumn Olives, noted in abundance earlier in the week. Leaving the 'shrooms in the kitchen, we headed out with baskets and high expectations of creating fruit leather from

these sweet berries, but found to our disappointment, that a black bear had beat us to them. This theory was verified by scat and broken branches with abundantly attendant claw marks. We also determined, for the elevation, that we were a tad late.

Setting aside this disappointment, we headed up the hill to attempt

identifying the hickories now in golden leaf. All of us had recently

been studying the new Sibley's 'Guide to The Trees', and wished to

measure its worth. Studying bark configurations, leaf size, leaflet

numbers, and what nuts we could recover from under the trees, we went

back to the house for further identification exercises as well as preparing and frying shaggy manes. The possibilities of hickory species were mockernut, pignut, shellbark, and shagbark. It is noteworthy that some of these species hybridize.

Our first attempt at preparing the mane did not go well, too many bits in the pan, too soggy. Separating the bits, adding more butter, frying them to nearly crisp, and adding a bit of lemon, created a more palatable cuisine. Someone mentioned Julia Child's strong recommendation to not let mushrooms touch one another when cooking this way. More conversation about the value of a harvest orientation to discovery in the outdoors was had, including the idea of creating an entire focus that could even lead to a club-like approach, garnering interest through a unique aspect that could become a significant part of BRDC. "