Over the last 3 weeks it's been wet and mild. Perfect weather for fungi, and not bad for the last of the berries and crab apples.
We are pretty fortunate to have a range of fungi on the farm, 5 of which I've eaten so far, so when a group of Parasol mushrooms appeared I was keen to add to the list.
They appeared in a large ring in one of our silage fields and I first spotted them from 200m away with binoculars. They are so big and so tall even with longish grass they are impossible to miss. We picked a number but left plenty to spread their spores. When back at home I checked my books to make extra sure what they were. There is one similar species, the Shaggy Parsol which can upset some people so even with this distinct mushroom you have to be careful. There are 2 books I rely on and would really recommend them both, the River Cottage Mushroom Handbook by John Wright, backed up by the encyclopaedic Mushrooms by Roger Philips. My first tasting was just a small piece. The next day all was fine, so I cooked a whole one in butter with some crushed garlic and had it on toast - the perfect lunch!