CHIMACUM — Doyle Yancey of Egg & I Farms in Chimacum was mowing the Glendale Farm field in Beaver Valley on Monday when he came upon something right in the path of his machine’s blades.
Yancey wasn’t sure what it was.
“I was just out mowing and I always keep my eye out for animals. I thought it was a dog, so I stopped about 18-inches away from it,” he reported.
Upon closer inspection, it wasn’t an animal.
“It was this huge white thing. I was so glad I stopped before I hit it.”
Yancey discovered a very large, bright white mushroom in his path. It was a oddity, its shape and size seemed out of place.
He decided to cut the stem and put it into his truck. He finished mowing three hours later.
Yancey did some research on the fungus. It’s a giant western puffball, Calvatia booniana, shaped like an egg and with large polygonal warts, measuring 20 inches long by 14 inches high. He was amazed when he put it on the scale.
“It weighed exactly 20 pounds,” he said.
Yancey described the mushroom as having a strong, somewhat unpleasant odor. Part of the interior has turned a yellow-green color, but most of it is still white.
He said he plans to cut it into large slices to dry and eat.
The giant western puffball is edible, according to a Cornell University blog, https://tinyurl.com/PDN-cornellunversityblog.
The blog said that a yellowish or brown interior could give the mushroom an off-flavor or possibly be toxic.
“I didn’t expect to find something like this,” Yancey said. “The field looks flat, but it’s got lots of bumps. I always keep my eye out for animals in the field. My biggest fear is that I’ll hit a baby deer or a dog.”
Yancey said he’ll go back to the same place in the field to see if there are any more of the giant puffballs that he can cut, weight, measure, photograph and enjoy.
For now, the location is secret.
This story was first published in the Peninsula Daily News. Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.