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If you've never harvested them, chanterelles are actually pretty common and easy to find -- just look around washes in July and August. (In New England they are generally near beech trees and other hardwoods, not sure about the golden chanterelles out west.) There are a few poisonous/non-edible look alikes, but they're relatively easy to tell apart with a few simple tests, including the fact that most species in the chanterelle family smell like apricots.

They are pretty common in places that 1) have forests, 2) where there aren't tons of people looking for them. Unfortunately I don't live near any forests, and even if I did, many places you now compete with gaggles of other people picking them plus commercial pickers.

I've picked lots of chantarelles over the years, as well as a number of variants, but the problem especially with chantarelles is that they're so easy to recognise that they're one of the first types people learn to pick with confidence, and since they're also sought after, if you're somewhere with a culture for mushroom picking and high population density they disappear very, very quickly.

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