Lars Norgren has owned and operated Peak Forest Fruit since 1984, he keeps a close thumb on the forest to bring fresh goods year round.
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April 22, 2011 by Hannah Wallace
MY DAD WAS INTERESTED IN mushrooms when I was a kid. Euell Gibbons’s book Stalking the Wild Asparagus had come out—he was a huge inspiration. At Reed, I started picking chanterelles in Tillamook State Forest when I didn’t have class. It took forever to find just one. It turned out I was looking under the wrong kinds of trees. Somebody had told me they’re under maples and hemlocks … that couldn’t have been further from the truth!
By Amy Albert Fine Cooking Issue 60
"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.”
HUNTER DIGS UP A MONSTER MUSHROOM, AN OREGON BLACK TRUFFLE, AND ONTO THE MENU IT GOES AT HIGGINS
Jan. 10, 2019 By Katy Muldoon
It looks like coal, smells like dirt and tastes like heaven. And for
Higgins Restaurant, which bought what may be the biggest
black truffle ever found in Oregon, it was a bargain at $80. Dug Sunday, the 1-pound, grapefruit-sized truffle was delivered Friday to the downtown restaurant, where chef Greg Higgins described how he'd employ the delicacy: finely diced then barely warmed in a vin rouge sauce crafted from red wine, vinegar, fish stock and cream. Through this weekend, the velvety sauce will spill over polenta and lower Columbia River sturgeon.
Now that you've stopped drooling, here's how the truffle met the plate.
CHEFS LOOK FOR WILD INGREDIENTS NOBODY ELSE HAS
Nov. 23, 2010 By Oliver Strand and Joe DiStefano
Mr. Lightner’s go-to guy is Lars Norgren, whose company, Peak Forest Fruit in Banks, Ore. Mr. Norgren, who picked his first morel at the age of 7 and began selling wild mushrooms to restaurants door to door in 1984, said foraged plants cost the same as comparable organic plants. The watercress that grows wild in a stream fetches the same price as greens cultivated on a farm.
MOREL MUSHROOM MANIA
April 22, 2013 By Kristin Belz
Mushrooms might be one of the more misunderstood foods around. The common mushroom found everyday at the grocery store – the white button – is not particularly interesting, though it is appreciated by many of us (and detested by a good number as well, who, even as adults, will pick a pizza or salad free of any of the unsightly offenders). But in the spring, beyond the grocery store, in the forests of the northwest, mushrooms tell a whole other story, and morels are a good place to start.
IN THE WEEDS | FORAGING FOR DINNER IN OREGON
OCTOBER 18, 2010 BY HANNAH WALLACE
On a recent Sunday morning, Matt Lightner, the bespectacled 29-year-old chef of the heralded Castagna Restaurant in Portland, Ore., was hunched over a bed of salicornia at Netarts Bay on the Oregon Coast. Salicornia, also known as pickleweed, is a salty-tasting succulent that grows like a weed — wait, it is a weed! — in marshy, brackish areas. Lightner was leading a foraging field trip of sorts. He introduced the assembled group of foodists to Lars Norgren, a towering figure with a mop of unkempt gray hair and an encyclopedic knowledge of wild plants.
AMERICA GOES WILD FOR MUSHROOMS
February 3, 1994 By Kirsten A. Conover
LARS NORGREN remembers how he first became interested in wild mushrooms: His family was on a camping trip in the Wallowa Mountains of eastern Oregon, and as a curious seven-year-old he picked a morel. His dad knew a little about wild mushrooms and encouraged him to keep looking. Soon, Norgren had 10 different kinds of mushrooms taped to a paper towel.
Today, Norgren is a mushroom dealer based in Portland. He buys from pickers and sells to restaurants, specialty stores, and distributors across the United States and abroad. His company, Peak Forest Fruit, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and is a testimony to this country's growing interest in wild mushrooms.
(photo from Natasha Arefyeva)
THE TAMING OF THE SHROOM
November 10 2003 By Michaela Bancud
Most Portland chefs, get their mushrooms through commercial mushroom harvesters such as Lars Norgren. A revered figure in culinary circles, Norgren supplies many of Portland's top restaurants, including Genoa, Higgins and the Heathman, and has sold mushrooms to Portland restaurants since 1984.
Chanterelle identification is simple, Norgren says.
'Chanterelles are distinctively funnel-shaped. The stem swells out gradually; there is no distinct transition from stem to cap. The cap, in other words, is nothing more than an enlarged portion of the stem. The 'gills' are false gills they don't have the feather edge of most mushrooms. The ridges are quite blunt.'
Le Pigeon – Cooking at the Dirty Bird:
“The Weird and Wonderful World of Lars Norgren”
A multi-page story within Gabriel Rucker's cookbook about Lars and the truffle hunters he works with.
5 episode semi-nonfictional documentary featuring various hunters and Lars around the Falls City Oregon.