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Chanterelles Flourish In Indiana's Hot, Rainy Summer

It's chanterelle day at Earth Eats.

We revisit a conversation we had with Chef Jeff Finch last year. He demonstrates a basic chanterelle preparation with salt and butter -- and it's out of this world. Then he takes it to the next level with a frittata.

Have you seen chanterelles for sale at your farmers’ market yet? The season is short, so get ‘em while you can. Before vendors can sell any wild mushrooms at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market, they have to be checked and approved by Marti Crouch. She’s served as the Mushroom Inspector at the market for twenty year before retiring at the end of last season and training Sean Breeden-Ost to take her place. She pulls on a pair of blue gloves and starts roaming the market one hour before customers arrive. Chanterelles come up in mid-to-late July, but it all depends on the weather. Crouch says they like it hot and humid.

"I have to confirm that every single one of the individual mushrooms is a chanterelle and not another species of mushroom," she says.

Breeden-Ost also sells chanterelles as a vendor. He's standing behind his table with his son Glen. They have six pounds of chanterelles in a couple paper grocery sacks. When I asked Sean what it’s like to find a big batch of chanterelles growing in the woods, he let out and low growl. "It’s like Christmas. It is. It’s exciting and… You kind of lose track of time," he says.

Some foragers develop relationships with area chefs to sell directly to restaurants. Salem Willard operates runs Bread & Roses Gardens and sells both his cultivated crops and his wild foragables to King Dough Pizza. "One day I was just walking on the road and I saw some of the orange mushrooms there on the hillside and I realized it’s chanterelle season," he says.

Willard called Chef Adam Sweet to ask if he wanted in on the chanterelles.

"Whenever he called up, I was was just like immediately the wheels started turning," says Sweet. "Like, what can we do with this?"

The result was a pizza called The Fancy Dad -- Béchamel sauce, mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, red onions, par-cooked chanterelles, sea salt and a dash of olive oil.

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