top of page

What's in season now? SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER

When’s the best time for mushrooms on the island, is a question I am asked often and I have no hesitation in answering, said question. SEPTEMBER. I love September for many reasons. The island quiets and we regain our serenity, secluded beaches, garden harvests, cool nights, warm days, a first wood stove fire just a few to name...

In regards to mushrooms, much like May, September marks a transition in seasons and tends to bring dewy sunrises, morning fog, and predictably intermittent rains. As I write this today (September 18) just last week our little island was inundated with a barrage of rains to only experience the following week a reprise of summer with 80 degree temperatures and humidity that makes you question what time of year it is. I recently saw a post,

Read on...
Wondering where the perfect spot to look is?

10 seasons of the Midwest:

1. Winter

2. Fake Spring

3. 2nd Winter

4. Spring Preview

5. 3rd Winter

6. Sudden real Spring

7. Summer

8. Fall Preview

9. 2nd Summer

10. Actual Fall

This couldn’t be more accurate as we are currently in the 2nd Summer and awaiting actual Fall. Second Summer and Actual Fall are the best time for mushrooms. With warm day temperatures and a surplus of precipitation the intermittent weather provides the perfect growing conditions for many mushrooms that in other regions are done growing. For example, Southern Wisconsin at the moment is relishing in the glory of find the coveted Hen of the Woods, while up here on the island our warmer, humid temperatures are still ripe for Chicken of the Woods. But once the Chickens are done you best believe the Hens will quickly fill their role in the forest.

This time of year is a cornucopia, with the flux of warm and cold, wet and dry, sunny and overcast, most varieties can be found all in the same day. Just the other day I found Chicken of the Woods, Black Trumpets, several varieties of Chanterelles and Boletes, Oyster, and Hedgehogs. And this list is limited to the choice varieties I prefer. There are assortments of many other kinds that I simply haven’t mastered yet, so I leave them for the slugs and forest floor creatures. Now, where to find these forest beauties you may ask? In my opinion...

Chicken of the WoodsOak, alive and dead, after a warm and humid rain

Black Trumpetsmossy patches on the edge of the forest

Chanterellessimilar to Trumpets they are found in the mossy patches where intermittent sunshine pokes through the forest. I tend to find them in low places in the forest that is sometimes underwater but dries towards the end of the season.

Boleteslarge openings in the forest, edge of the forest, near open grassy areas that get a lot of sunshine

Oysteralways dead standing/fallen birch or elm, immediately after a warm and humid rain as the sun is coming out. Moisture is very important for the oyster Hedgehogalso found in mossy patches with intermittent sunshine

Mushroom bounty picnic

These habitats are pertinent to the area I search on the island. These would very well be different for your location. Timing is also very, very different depending on your region. The different between Southern Wisconsin to Northern Wisconsin can be a matter of weeks to a month of difference in timing. Being an island surrounded by Lake Superior waters, our seasons tend to be a bit off compared to the rest. Our Falls last longer as it takes longer to cool around us, and in the spring it's the opposite where everyone else has shed their layers and we're still shivering by the fire. BUT, regardless of difference, I do use Southern Wisconsin as a gauge for what is to come. Such as, their finding Hen of the Woods right now and I know the minute our 2nd Summer ends and the Chickens have finished, the Hens will immediately start popping up in their usual spots.

In keeping track of the phenology I’ve started a Google Map and have kept for the past 5 years with my findings. No I will not share, said map. When I find a mushroom or a notable instance I pin my location with a “label” with the date and what I found. I love zooming out on the island and seeing all the different locations and the pattern associated. Mushrooms can be consistent if the environment remains similar. Fortunately for us, it does, and I have certain patches that bloom within days of each other from year to year. This ability to read the weather and running timeline gives me the ability to know where to look and when- a strategy I highly recommend. I also document with photos and using the “Timeline” feature in my photo storage I can quickly see what years past have been like. This saves me time and energy, which by this time of year I’m strapped for.

Mushroom Forums to Follow!

On Facebook

On Instagram




Recipe to try!

The Best “Hen of the Woods” Jerky

This is THE recipe I get asked about the most. I’m hesitant to share it because of how delicious it is and I’ll lose my mushroom magician status once I give up my secrets. But here goes, the most amazing mushroom jerky you will ever taste.


2-3 lbs fresh hens, ½ lbs dried hens

8 cups water

1.5 cups apple cider (or apple cider vinegar for a more tangy taste)

1 cup low sodium soy sauce (I tend to use half because I find the final product too salty, if you like salt, keep the amount the same)

2 tsp pepper

1 Tbs fennel seeds (optional)

1 Tbs siracha hot sauce (or your favorite, my dad made a ghost pepper hot sauce a few years ago that is stupid hot and I’ll add 4 drops to the pot and it gives mine the BEST hot flavor)

2 Tbs Maple Syrup (more for a sweeter batch)

3 cloves chopped garlic (optional)

For variety:

2 Tbs Ginger

2 Tbs Teriyaki


Place the mushrooms in a large pot.

Stir in the water, cider, and soy sauce, and COVER.

Bring to a boil.

Stir in the remaining ingredients and reduce heat to a simmer, COVER.

Continue to simmer, COVERED for an hour or so, stirring occasionally.

REMOVE COVER, raise heat and boil mushrooms stirring frequently.

Continue to boil on high heat until almost all the liquid is reduced.

Once all the liquid is reduced, remove from head and scoop out the mushrooms and arrange in a single layer in your food dehydrator. Add pepper.

Set to 125 degrees for about 8 hours.

Let cool before bagging them up.

*I’ve also used this same method and recipe to make jerky out of Oyster mushrooms.

Tip: cut your mushrooms into decent sized chunks. If you want chewy jerky thicker chunks (.5-1 inch thick), or for a thinner tougher jerky cut thinner.

As you're passing this off to people, I always refrain from mentioning at first that it's a mushroom. I let the person taste, enjoy, and question it. Once they ask, I relish in telling them it's from a mushroom and they look at me with wonder and amazement. "The texture, the flavor!" they say. Give it a try, you'll fool even the biggest of carnivore.

Lastly, as you forage please always remember to tread lightly- your feet do more damage than the picking and save some for nature. The urge may be strong but the longevity of the forest depends on it.
100 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page