Rina Cescon's mushroom picking days have been especially bountiful this fall after the warm summer created an abundance of stumpinis throughout the wooded areas in Greater Trail. The mild flavoured mushrooms proliferate around the stumps of trees

The search for ‘stumpinis’

East Trail's Rina Cescon knows how to identify, pick and prepare the mild flavoured mushroom.

A day spent nel bosco (in the woods) can bring tangled hair, bug bites, a tumble or two onto the forest floor and the need to blow a whistle to ward off nature’s curious critters.

Besides outdoor adventure, this year a day in the forest can also bring a motherlode of golden delicacies that after a quick wash, are ready for the frying pan along with some olive oil and garlic.

The hot summer weather mixed with a good douse of rain and fall sunshine, means a 50-year Trail tradition is especially ripe for the picking because “stumpini” are more abundant than usual.

A quick search through online images to uncover exactly what a stumpini is didn’t reveal much, but after decades of harvesting fungo (fungi), East Trail’s Rina Cescon knows how to identify, pick and prepare the mild flavoured mushroom.

The bisnonna (great grandmother) and her husband Decimo Cescon, have been out to their covert forest areas between Rossland and Salmo a number of times this year, and each time, managed to bag about 100 pounds of stumpini.

But it isn’t about the bounty that is later sauteed fresh, canned in quarts or gifted to friends and family.

It’s about the thrill of walking through often pristine woods, and reminiscing about days when she first started foraging beside her father Luigi Zol, and other friends, now gone.

“My husband and I know our spots because we’ve been going out for so many years,” said Rina. “But it is more about the fun adventure and giving them away to the people who can’t go out there anymore.”

She has come across the elusive shaggy manes and morel varieties, but stumpinis are much more common in the West Kootenay region and easy to spot – because they grow in large clusters on tree stumps.

“People are finding them every where this year,” said Rina. “It’s true each time we went, we found so many we ran out of bags, and couldn’t collect more.”

People can be leery about eating wild mushrooms because most kinds are inedible and some types are poisonous.

But after so many years of practise, Rina noted that foragers must know their terrain and pick only in unspoiled forest areas – far from highway fumes and any other discarded man-made debris.

“We pick in the forest where it’s very rough, and you can tell that by the falls we take,” she laughed. “Just last week I took a real good spill. I was telling everyone to watch out and I ended up falling face first.”

The enjoyment of a day in the woods is reason enough to seek out wild mushrooms, but the taste of a stumpini is much more fresh and dewy than varieties found in plastic containers in the grocery store.

When looking for mushrooms, bring a basket or paper/cloth bag and a knife and specimens should be fleshy, not dried out or decaying.

Most important says Rina, is to never go harvesting alone.

“There is always a group of us,” she added. “We bring at least two or three others. And more than finding mushrooms, it’s the memories, fun and giving them away to friends who can’t go into the bush anymore.”

Just Posted

Drug use a problem at Trail hockey games, warn RCMP

Police recommend changes to Trail Memorial Centre washrooms

Montrose moves to ban pot retail

Retail, production and distribution of non-medical cannabis sales prohibited under Montrose bylaw

Castlegar, Grand Forks areas to see cleaner winter roads under new contract

YRB set to take over 10-year maintenance contract on Monday

Setting sail to fight kidney disease

Trail’s annual Kidney Walk included an opportunity to raft down the Columbia River

MP Cannings spared brunt of Ottawa tornadoes

MP Richard Cannings was spared the impact of the tornadoes that hit the Ottawa region

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

B.C. could provide clues as to how New Brunswick electoral results shake out

Premier Christy Clark faced a strikingly similar scenario following the province’s 2017 election

Most Read