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Unlocking the secrets of truffle aroma

Scientists say soil microbes key to fungi’s distinctive aroma

An Oregon white truffle, courtesy Oregon State University

An Oregon white truffle, courtesy Oregon State University

Staff Report

FRISCO — Mushroom season may be over the Colorado high country, but in parts of Europe, it’s the peak of the truffle season, as hundreds of gourmets scour oak forests to find the fragrant buried fungi, often with the help of animals.

Now scientists say that the scent of the hidden edible treasures is largely produced not by the fungi itself, but by soil bacteria trapped inside truffle fruiting bodies, a discovery of interest not only to mycophiles, but to scientists speciazing in food flavors.

The study involved white truffles from the Piedmont region in Italy, which can cost up to 5,000 Euro per kilo (about $4,000 a pound), and black truffles from the Périgord region in Southern France. Particularly large specimens even fetch prices of up to 50,000 Euro per kilogram at auctions. Continue reading

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Morning photo: Flower power!

Fresh blooms …

Tundra wildflowers, Loveland Pass, Colorado.

Tundra wildflowers, Loveland Pass, Colorado.

FRISCO — It’s that sweet time of year when high country wildflower start to go nuts, I’ve never seen as many tall blue penstemon as in the past few days, which makes me realize that the flowers have their own cycles and rhythms that we can’t begin to understand yet. So on Tuesday morning, I ventured up to the Shrine Pass area to have a look, but the bulk of the blooming is still ahead. Still, using back-lighting, careful composition and the iPone camera’s HDR option, I was able to scare up a couple of decent shots. Continue reading

Morning photo: Cloud 9

Vaporous …

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Collapsing thunderstorm.

FRISCO — Clouds. We often take them for granted, or see them as a nuisance if we’re in the mood for a bright, sunny day, but clouds are, of course, an essential part of the cycle of life on this planet, transporting water vapor throughout the atmosphere, distributing moisture and affecting climate in ways we are just beginning to understand. For a photographer, clouds are often the perfect foil for landscape shots, helping to soften the light and add drama to what otherwise might just be a blank space. Even if you’re not a photographer, take some time one of these days to check out what’s going on in the sky above you. Visit our online gallery at Fine Art America for more Summit County landscape and nature shots.

Continue reading

Morning photo: It’s not that the colors aren’t there

“It’s just imagination they lack …”

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Spheres.

FRISCO — With apologies and gratitude to Paul Simon, some photo whimsy after a long day of writing, looking for the crispest black and white images that also tell a story of seasons in Colorado. Continue reading

Morning photo: Black & white IV

A simple set …

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Strong contrasts in the early morning light.

FRISCO — Do you ever dream in black and white? I do, and sometimes, those dreams look like this … Continue reading

Morning photo: Low winter sun

Creekside again …

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Starburst sunrise along the Snake River.

FRISCO — The sun’s path across the sky is quickly dropping, noticeably in a different position than just a couple of weeks ago, when I ventured to the Snake River for the first time this season in search of ice. Along with shorter days, those changes create opportunities for photography, as if a new lighting designer is on the job. After shooting into the morning sun, I also went for a quick afternoon stroll along Meadow Creek, near our home in Frisco, during the afternoon, hoping to catch some glints of warm sunlight on the remnant ice (yes, remnant; it’s been so warm the past few days that some of the ice is vanishing in our November thaw). Here are the best of today’s images. Please visit our online gallery at Fine Art America for more Summit County landscape and nature images. Continue reading

Morning photo: From the mundane to the sublime

It’s all how you look at it

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Twin Peaks.

FRISCO —Man, I really, REALLY love that Grays, Torreys, Grizzly skyline. For as many pics as I’ve snapped of those summits, I can’t find two that are the same. Then, there’s the mundane that become sublime in the eye of the beholder, like a simple aspen leaf laying in the snow, or something that’s sublime to begin with, like a bend in the river with serendipitous sunshine shafting across the cured grass to the very fringe of the forest. It’s all good … Continue reading

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