Fall Foraging and Quincely Woes

Well it’s creeping into fall once again. That lovely time of year following summer, where all kinds of harvest fruits are usually available for preservation and nomming.

To that end, there is a bumper crop on my quince tree this year. This would usually be cause for celebration here, as we pick, clean, slice, and freeze the fruit for use over the winter.

The problem is that the weather has been very odd all year. Whilst this has resulted in beautiful fruit up until now, it’s now hot when it should be cold.

It’s 83 degrees and very wet today, and will also be thus tomorrow. In October. In Pennsylvania.

Why is this a problem?

Because quince is a fall weather harvest fruit. The week plus of 80 degrees and extremely wet has meant that the ground is too soft to safely plant a ladder to harvest the fruit, and said fruit is rotting on the tree from the heat instead of being all nice and preserved as it should be by cooler temps. The first week of October is usually the first time I pick any fruit from this tree. I’ve had tons of fruit drop on their own over the last two weeks. And it’s ripening unevenly. One side will be shock green and the other side will be literally rotten. Not cool. Literally.

The next semi dry day here is forecast to be four days from now. At that time I’ll be harvesting all I can. They have to be hand picked. If they fall the impact bruises them very easily and ruins wherever it impacts.

The warm weather has also put the kabosh on fall mushrooms thus far. I’ve only found a half dozen mushrooms the past month. The only things that have been coming up have been either unknown or toxic varietals. No boletus. Well, there was ONE stray slippery pine boletus, but it was so bug eaten by the time I found it that I didn’t bother. Slippery pine boletus usually require shade of some kind to come up in any kind of proliferation, and it’s typically in the form of leaves that fall from other trees. When the leaves from the neighboring maple falls on the area of the roots of the scotch pine, is when these things will be popping up en masse. But the leaves haven’t fallen yet. The warmer temps mean that all the trees in my yard (save the barren walnut tree that got the clue early as usual…), haven’t dropped very many leaves at all yet. Two of my maples are still 100% green! The one closest to the house, the oldest one, has gotten the hint and the leaves are starting to slowly turn yellow.

So what’s it like in your neck of the woods, and has the weather been good or horrible for your local foraging preferences?

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Categories: Foraging, Green, Mushrooms, Nature, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Fall Foraging and Quincely Woes

  1. I have recently moved from West Virginia to Oregon (hence the blog name change) and this place is amazing. We have gathered quite a bit of mushrooms with someone who knows what they are doing. My son, who has learned a lot about foraging, came to visit and we went to a local winery. In front was a tree with berries he tasted and said they were too bitter, otherwise he said we would have had quite a harvest there!

    • Aye, there is quite a climate here from the temperate east to the Pacific Northwest. If your son is interested in foraging, I’d highly recommend a book I have by Dr. John Kallas called ‘Edible Wild Plants’. He lives there in the Pacific NW, but the book covers a wide variety of plants and topics. Ye can get it inexpensively on Amazon or any other online bookseller, or directly from Kallas’ website. I don’t remember the link offhand but I’m sure it can be found quite easily simply by searching for ‘John Kallas Foraging’ or some such. He’s one of the Big Four in the foraging world. The others being Green Deane Jordan, Samuel Thayer, and Steve Brill.

  2. I’ve been too busy with other life things to check my grape and boletus harvest spots, but I’ve had a bumper crop of apples– canned a few gallons of apple sauce, butter, and jelly. Some other minor things like oyster mushrooms and flowering dogwood fruits too, but those are new to me this year so I haven’t tried preserving them or cooking. Honestly the weather has been fairly decent here in Massachusetts, I just have been kept too busy to put as much time to foraging as I’d like.

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