Here in the Pacific Northwest we are lucky to have such lovely forests, as I mentioned in an early post, I found a mushroom hunter from Eugene, OR - who was interested in guest posting here on Renaissance Culinaire. Please note the orange icons with skull & cross bones, these reference poisonous or un-edible species of mushroom. Here is his post:
Everyone with a vehicle is suddenly a Chanterelle hunter. Get 'em while you can, because soon you will not see a chanterelle until next fall. I love hunting chanterelles, but making money with them is hard. When Chanterelles are abundant, more people go picking and the price drops.
For me, mushrooming is not about money. It is about finding those perfect beautiful patches in the forest. Hunting is about finding one chanterelle and then looking around and seeing a hundred more chanterelles. It is a beautiful sight. Hunting is about getting our side in the rain and being active. There are easier pickings in the mushroom patch than chanterelles, but this takes more knowledge.
(photo right - credit Lee Norris)
The Meadow Mushroom is listed as choice by the National Autobahn Field manual. The manual says that they grow in late August and September, but I have found meadow mushrooms much later in the season in late September throughout October.
As you look at the two pictures, the left has older California Agaricus mushrooms and the picture on the right features a younger version of California Agaricus - this species has a very noticible identifier - a ring (looks kind of like a skirt) higher on the stalk (which may appear broken or ragged as the mushroom matures), this is the best indication as to what variety they are. The Meadow Mushroom has a half ring, faint ring or even no ring, where the California Agaricus' ring is much fuller.
The Felt Ring Agaricus (Agaricus hondensis Murr),Yellow-foot Agaricus(Agaricus xanthodermusW)and Western Flat-topped Agaricus(Agaricus meleagris) are other species confusable with the Meadow Mushroom that are poisonous.