Wildcrafting” is the official term, and “forager” is fashionable, but Lars Per Norgren simply calls himself a mushroom picker and dealer. He has been gathering in the Oregon woods for twenty years, supplying to chefs who transform the mushrooms into remarkable dishes with a distinctly local flavor. Golden chanterelles are at their most delicious in a simple sauté, Lars finds, while the yellowfoot variety benefits from long, slow cooking. Matsutakes, prized for their distinctive aroma and firm texture, are delicious thinly sliced and simmered in broth.
Lars grew up in Oregon’s Coastal Range and has been attuned to its woods his whole life. But the decision to make a living of gathering mushrooms came in early adulthood, after he ate an omelet filled with chanterelles. “They just tasted so much better than any wild food I had ever eaten,” he recalls. “It was a defining moment.”