Saturday, July 10, 2010
The Mother Patch
There is a park in town that several of us have nicknamed Chanty Park. It is a great park with large fields, several streams, and some large wooded areas. But back in one wooded draw along an intermittent spring-fed stream is a valley that is full of smooth chanterelle patches. I know at least 7 people who pick here and there is more than enough to go around.
When I was first exploring this area and saw this valley I knew there had to be something special up top on the ridge. In my experience I find patches of chants always seem to travel down washes into valleys like these so I figured there must be patches up top that had seeded all the ones at the bottom. I backtracked down the valley and walked the entire ridge not seeing any mushrooms except for a mess of aging black-staining polypores.
As I neared the ridge top at the head of the valley, I saw those familiar orange dots up ahead. They were everywhere. The patch was at least 1,000 square feet and it was loaded. A few weeks ago as the chants were just starting to really flush, I took a few photos from the middle of the patch. You will have to zoom in to see all of the orange dotting the hillside.
This is what I would call a mother patch. I believe this massive patch has been sending spores washing down the valley for years, resulting in the virtual chanterelle farm below. I shared the location of the mother patch and my hypothesis with a few fellow hunters who pick out there (they hadn't actually found it yet, because there really was no need to leave the valley when you could pick your fill there). After checking it out, they tended to agree with me.
Has anyone else found these sorts of mother patches of smooth chants? If so, leave a comment and your thoughts to how patches spread. Happy picking.