Ian Campbell, general manager of Log Haven, is a dedicated mycologist but he doesn’t like you to call him that. Let’s just say he likes mushrooms.
Because we live mostly in a high desert, many are surprised that mushroom foraging–largely associated with damp European locales– is possible here. But in the Uintahs, foragers can find many varieties of mushrooms. Ian Campbell, general manager of Log Haven, is an avid mushroom hunter. don’t expect him or any other mycology fan to tell you exactly where to look, but he can give you some tips.
“I’ve been hunting mushrooms for 25 years,” says Campbell, a high successful hunter. He started by joining Utah Mycology Society, learned some basics and then he was off on his own. “Once you find your first porcini, it’s easy,” he says. Like most mushroomers, he has his favorite spots, not to be revealed to anyone.
The Wasatch and the Uintahs are both hunting grounds. “I’ll still go off Bear Lake highway but that’s been discovered by lots of people, so my easy-access spots have been plundered. I do have a spot on the Eastern side.” And he offers a few more pointers:
“The Wasatch yields morels and porcini, but if it’s been a slow bloom (dry year), porcini are often infested by maggots, so look close.”
“May is for morels–they look a lot like pinecones so they’re hard to spot; they’re smaller, and don’t grow at as high an altitude, You can also find them in grassy fields along the Weber River.”
He finds orange chanterelles in the tussah Mountains in late August and September.
“Pioneer Day is for porcini,” Campbell says. “They come into season along with tomatoes. I like to grill them and make a sandwich on grilled sourdough bread with tomatoes and arugula from the garden.”
These fungi may look drab, but they’r packed with nutrients.
Color often indicates nutritional value in food The orange a carrot indicates carotene and deep greens tell of B vitamins. But drab mushrooms are nutritional powerhouses. Until you sautés them in butter or olive oil, they are low in calories and fat and have no cholesterol. In addition to fibre, mushrooms deliver all kinds of vitamins and minerals: copper, magnesium, zinc and potassium, plus assorted B vitamins and lots of antioxidants that protect cells’ inflammation. Most of the nutrients are int he caps, but keep the stems–they’re great for soup.