Pac NW: Mushrooms, Camping & Cycling

You Don’t Know Joe…But You Should

Interview with Production Manager, Joe Van Dyke


Mushroom Foraging

  • How’d you first get into foraging for mushrooms?
  •  A good friend of mine who is also in the wine industry asked me to go with him one time about five years ago. We went foraging for chanterelles.


  • Is there a mushroom foraging community in Oregon where people share information or is it all hush hush?
  • To be honest, now that all of this stuff is online it’s become a little too easy for people to share information and that has ruined some of the experience. You have people online who want to brag about their haul and tell everyone all the details and that takes away some of the fun.


  • Have you met people you didn’t know foraging that have become your friend?
  • I have personally but there’s definitely a decent sized community of people who are new or wanting to go with people and meet that way.
  • What are the best months to go picking in Oregon?
  • April, May, October and November.


  • Can you give a quick breakdown of which species are best in what season?
  • Morel season is in April and May and Chanterelle season is October and November


  • What’s your favorite recipe for cooking up the haul you receive?
  • I like cooking them thoroughly on a cast-iron with butter and garlic until they get dark in color. If I was going to suggest a recipe, we recently made a pigs in the blanket dish with Morels, pancakes, bacon and sausage that was killer.


  • What’s generally a better place to look for mushrooms, coastal range or mountain range?
  • Mushrooms are all over the place if you know where to look. Depends on the type you’re looking for but generally south facing slopes with not too much tree cover is a good pace to start.


Joe: One thing I love about hunting for mushrooms is its like going for a hike with a purpose. You become very in touch with your surroundings and nature and are honed in what you’re doing. The other great thing is with hiking, you’re usually following a predetermined path. With foraging, there’s no path and no rules, you’re just going where the going is good.



  • When’s the best month to go camping in Oregon?
  • I would say the best time to go is in the summer. June to August with the best time being late June-early July.


  • What could possibly go better than mushroom foraging and camping?
  • That’s pretty tough combo to beat but I think mountain biking and camping might be an even better combination.


  • You’re an Oregon lifer, do you like camping in the same spots or are you constantly searching for others?
  • I’m constantly looking for new spots. I would say that 90% of the time I go camping it’s to a new spot. The 10% of spots I return to are the absolute gems.


  • What are the essentials to bring with for a weekend camping trip in the Pac NW?
  • First and foremost, you need plenty of beer! You also need need wine (for when you run out of beer!). The other things that are essential would be water, food, a head lamp, soap that is river safe (important!) along with clothes that wash and dry quickly, a cast-iron for cooking, tents, sleeping bag and jumper cables.


Mountain Biking:

  • Where are the best tracks for mountain biking?
  • The cascades in general is awesome for mountain biking but it’s getting tougher and tougher to find tracks that haven’t been exploited. Trails are crowded these days.


Is it better solo or with friends?

It’s definitely better with friends. I actually took a little trek and did some camping a night before my buddies got there the other weekend and it can definitely be a little eery without friends. It’s not like your staying on campgrounds, you’re out in the woods.

Q. After a nice long ride, what’s your go-to beverage.

A. Personally I like going for a nice, cold IPA or two.

Q. Is it essential to have a bike with multiple gears? What’s the preferred type of bike for the Oregon mountain trails?

A. There are some differing opinions on the topic for sure but I think it’s best to have a one-bi carbon bike for the Cascade trails.  


General Question:

Q. Either rank these activities in order, Foraging, Mountain Biking, Camping or choose your favorite if you could only do just one.

A. Nothing is better than huckin’ (riding bikes for those not in the lingo know)


Food Profile- Joe VD:

Q. How’d you get into making your own kimchi?

A. My roommate got me started a few months ago and I really got into it. We have started making larger and larger batches each time we’ve made some.

Q. How long does the whole process take? How much work is involved and how much of it is waiting around?

A. The whole process takes about a week but it’s probably more work intensive than you would think. There’s a lot of chopping involved. We chopped veggies for about 4 hours for the last batch that we made.

Q. How experimentive are you looking to get with it? Are you looking to test some boundaries or stay within the limits?

A. We’re definitely looking to experiment with different levels of heat and such. We’re also looking to make a kimchi condiment relatively soon. That’s all I can say about that right now.

Q. Do you have goals to eventually sell it to local stores?

A. We do. We’re actually going to start a stand in the McMinnville Farmers Market starting on May 16th. We’ve started our own little brand that is called Willamette Valley Wild & Natural. We’re going to make wild, wilder and wildest version of our kimchi to start out.


  • Does it relate to your wine background at all and your lengthy experience with the fermentation process?  
  • There are definitely some perks to having knowledge about fermentation that I used with me in making kimchi. We’re actually make kombucha as well for Willamette Valley Wild & Natural and that is another area where having some experience in fermenting things has helped.  


  • What’s the best compliment you’ve received on your kimchi so far?
  • We actually made the decision to bring our kimchi to a number of different chefs in the area to see how it held up compared to some of what they’ve made and had. More than one chef told us they thought it was amongst the best kimchi they ever tried. That was a pretty compliment awesome to receive!