Welcome to the Great Morel Story and Tales page. This page is intended to showcase some of your fellow mushroom hunter’s real life adventures. Stories of success and failures, of battling nature’s elements, the trials and tribulations, mixed with the agony of defeat and heart warming adventures. Stories from people sharing a common interest – The Great Morel – there truly are some really good stories so take your time and enjoy.
A Story of my Grandma
At a recent family gathering for my mother’s retirement party, with my Grandma of 95 years and my mother’s sisters all in attendance, I had decided fresh morels were in order as appetizers. Much to the delight of all I might add.
As I began the oh-so typical pre-fry preparation my tiny, but sharp as a pin Grandma comes over and places her hand over my shoulder expressing her joy and excitement of having unexpected morels at a family gathering. Unbeknownst to me, she was in observation mode too and the moment was soon about to change. She quickly decided she was going to offer up her help and soon her input. As I dipped, battered, and placed the first batch of morels in the skillet, her offerings of subtle suggestions had already begun.
Morels were all too familiar to my Grandma. She grew up in a family where hunting morels with her mother and father was always a family affair. My Grandpa who passed away a couple of years back always hunted morels too, often making trips to Michigan when the morels in Ohio had left for the season. As my Grandpa aged, there were those in the family who always made sure the two of them received the first morels of the season, usually courtesy of one of her thoughtful son-in-laws or myself. So while my Grandma has had many more years of cooking morels than I, it wasn’t as if I was clueless to the process.
With Grandma still standing shoulder to shoulder with me, and the morels crackling in the frying pan beginning to turn that beautiful golden brown it all began…
I stood there patiently waiting to give the morels in the pan their first turn. Albeit in her loving and caring way, the seriousness in her voice echoed as her subtle suggestions became more like coaching instructions.
“You need to get these others ready”, she chirped. Referring to getting the morels battered up.
“They are fine Grandma, I’ll get to them.” I kindly replied.
“Well you should have more ready because those are going to get done and you aren’t going to have more ready”, she informed me in an almost panicked tone.
In what must have been my inability to sense the same urgency she did, she begins dipping and rolling. Grandma is nearing command mode now. Keep in mind this 95-year-old Grandma of mine is the sweetest, most kind hearted person one would ever meet.
As she continued to vocalize her thoughts and suggestions to me, my sister and brother-in-law who were standing at the sink were just smiling and taking in the moment. The next thing you know both are sarcastically barking the same instructions as Grandma in unison.
“Yeah, come on Brad, you’d better get going”, they would chime with the same instructions Grandma had just said as if to reassure me I should start paying attention.
As I looked over my shoulder at them, my sister winks at me and has this huge smile on her face.
Before I even plated the first pan, Grandma grabs my arm with the tongs and starts rearranging morels in the frying pan informing me to “scoot those over” and she starts placing the morels she had dipped and battered into the pan. You know, the ones I didn’t have ready.
“Do you have it hot enough?” (referring to the stove top)
“You need more butter…”
With her wisdom and experience it continued….
“Scoot those over…”
“Those over there look done…” as she pointed to one side of the pan.
“You’d better turn those over…”
Gradually with each suggestive instruction she slowly moves in and takes over the stove. I could sense she wasn’t quite satisfied with my cooking techniques, nor was she content with just managing the battering process any longer and she was moving in.
My sister is standing clear in the background with this huge smile realizing I’d lost control and she was taking in this forever-memorable moment. It was age, wisdom and experience taking command and all I could do was come to the realization that I was about to be replaced by this tiny woman.
“I’ve got it Grandma”, I said.
Nope, I guess not. Soon she was at the helm in full control of the frying pan and I was instructed to man the batter station. Thus, the pre-fry instructional session begins for me just as the frying went.
“Are we going to need fresh flour?”
“Get a fresh plate”
“I think we’re going to need more egg mix…”
“You should let them soak longer in the egg mixture…”
“Not too much flour now…”
“You need to roll them in more flour”
And so it went, and the humor of it all was too much.
Yep she was in command of it all – tongs in hand, treating those morels as if they were Model T’s moving down the assembly line. She had it going and suddenly she turns to me and asks…
“How come when I cook these at home it feels more hurried and rushed?”
Ah, finally a question not phrased as an instruction, I am given the chance to offer up my wisdom.
“Maybe you cook them too hot Grandma.” I respectfully answered.
It was quiet for a short moment and she countered, “I think you are right. All these years I always seemed so rushed to get them on a plate for your Grampy, and I think I just learned something from you”
It was as if that simple answer was all she needed. She went on to finish up the batch of morels as everyone enjoyed them. Yet, like most who relate to this story, even more so it is sharing them in the presence of the ones we care so deeply about.,,,like my Grandma!
In talking with my sister the next day, she said it was a moment she will forever remember…. one I think I will cherish in my memories too.
Thanks for the memory Grandma.
This is a personal contribution of The Great Morel – submitted 2008 (RIP Grandma 1914-2016)
Putting Reno on the map!
Its been great reading everything on the site because there really isn’t a culture of morel hunting here on the West Coast like there is back East.
I got turned on to them 3 years ago as kind of a fluke. I was at my best friends brothers house and he had a bag of these weird brain looking things in a paper bag on his front porch. He told us that they were morel mushrooms and gave us coordinates where he found them. We went out the next day and found maybe 10 large naturals and I was absolutely hooked after that.
Some serious hooting and hollering and hugs ensued after that and it’s a moment I wont ever forget.
I think wild mushrooms scare people out West. I talked to basically everyone I knew, and no one could give me any information on the subject. Then I found the Great Morel and really started nerding out.
I started searching for burns and every day checked forecasts trying to guess where and when they would pop up. Based on the information on the Great Morel, I came up with a couple possible sites and we spent the spring exploring places we never would have seen otherwise.
On our first real hunt, my girlfriend and I (who is now as addicted as I am), drove 3 hours to a burn site near Chico Ca. She steps out of the car, and there is our first morel right at her feet. Some serious hooting and hollering and hugs ensued after that and it’s a moment I wont ever forget.
You probably weren’t looking for an entire mushroom hunting origin story here, but I would assume that, based upon you administering this site, you feel pretty damn passionate about the subject too. Mushroom hunting and trout fishing dominate our Springs now, and it’s by far my favorite time of the year.
We are headed into the Sierras around 5,000 feet to some clear cuts this weekend. I’ll let you know how it turns out!
Courtesy of Dan in Reno, NV – submitted 2019
(note from The Great Morel – it is always a joy to have visitors share stories like this – you have to love it – especially about the “hooting and hollering”!)
Finding Morels Can Be Difficult!
A few years back I took a teaching colleague morel hunting near Traverse City, MI. I showed him pictures and outlined where I had found mushrooms before. I explained that people had their favorite remote spots in the woods and protected these locations from others. I told him that you had to develop an “eye” for them and that sometimes morels were hard to spot even when you hiked to these special locations where they generally grew.
Spotting mushrooms proved to be impossible as we hiked to the woods and started the slow scanning process. We walked and walked. After about 3 hours of finding nothing we were exhausted and hungry. We decided to go into town and have a quick lunch. I explained that I still had a couple of other favorite spots to try if he was up to more hiking.
We stopped at a McDonalds and decided to cross the street to eat our lunch in the park. We sat on a bench to eat, looked down and noticed that there was a morel almost under our feet! With a further search we found 30 beautiful yellow morels within 10 feet of the bench. My friend looked at me and told me that this was the best mushroom “hike” of the day!
By the hand full
I am a small stream trout fisherman and love to fish the small streams in the Cadillac area of Michigan. Trout season opens in Michigan on the last Saturday in April. This period of the year is also a good time to hunt for morels.
The weather was unusually cold and the forecast was for snow. We got to the stream during a driving snowstorm and started to wade the river to fish. Despite the terrible weather we started to catch trout and decided to keep enough for a fish dinner at camp. On the way back to the car we notices something sticking out of the snow. They were yellow morels! We gathered them by the handfuls because they were so easy to find silhouetted against the snow. We ended up having an unexpected bonus with our trout for dinner.
Short story courtesy of Tom Kromer, Mt. Pleasant, MI – submitted 2010
I Wear My Headlamp At Night
So I bust butt to get away from the office in anticipation of a weekend at a buddy’s cabin in the Shenandoah mountains. Traffic was fierce and I arrived at the locked gate to crack my first much-needed beer of the day. I had maybe two hours before dark; my buddy was expected an hour hence.
I hunted down low near the gate (known to give up a few most years) and was blanked. Once my buddy showed up and we were at the cabin, I stowed my gear and we started jabberjawing because we hadn’t seen each other in a year. Finally I said I wanted to check down near the old generator shed, where I had found ONE shroom four years earlier. I had taken no more than a dozen steps and there they were. 19 found within bass casting distance of the cabin.
So we were adrenaline-filled (first find of the year) but buddy had to go home. I’m now sitting at the cabin with darkness falling and shrooms nearby. Screw it. I put on the 5-LED headlamp I use canoe camping and started hunting.
Now, my buddy showed back up (late!) the following afternoon, and we four-wheeled all the way to top of the mountain and had a pretty good (though very short) hunt. I also did some turkey hunting Saturday morning, and took a nap Saturday afternoon.
But otherwise… I was crawling all over the mountain from full dark till 3-4 in the morning, shrooming a 3′ headlamp diameter of ground at a time. And it worked beautifully! They “jump out” like they’re in HD when you have technology-generated tunnel vision!
They only thing is, you really have to know your ground. You have to be comfortable being in the woods at night. You have to “look up” and de-focus from time to time so that you know essentially where you are. Elevation over a valley floor helps (DOWN is home), as do lights over the valley floor. And it is easy to get mired in a greenbriar thicket or a deadfall… remember that quickly backing out and going around beats brush-busting every time.
But being a thousand feet up, taking a break to drink the beer you thoughtfully packed along, with the headlamp off and being utterly alone — free to contemplate just how GOOD life is on a peaceful night — that’s one fantastic shrooming experience right there.
Once a shroom is spotted, the hands-and-knees thing to make sure you don’t miss the others is sublime with a headlamp. Literally nothing else exists in your field of vision.
Ended up with 95 on two nights hunting, mostly blacks with a few early tall-stemmed blondes.
Courtesy of Craig Fields, Blue Ridge Mountains, VA – submitted 2010
I’m from mid-Michigan, hunt here and up on the northwest side of this great state (Cadillac, Mesick, Baldwin areas). I was born in 1963 and I can remember hunting shrooms before I began kindergarten. Mom, Grandma and my three sisters and I walking to the woods to search for our treat. I can remember them boosting me over the neighbor’s fence to pick on the other side, and I can remember finding where the neighbor had boosted the fence to pick on our side (all’s fair in mushroom wars).
In the 70s, I remember years that were so dry, you’d walk away empty handed. I can remember years in the 70s that were just right and you could barely walk away. These were all in mid-Michigan (30 miles south of Lansing) as my parents didn’t travel far from the family farm.
I remember riding bikes with the neighbor kids until I accidentally stumbled across a mushroom growing up out of the sand on the side of the road. I immediately ditched playing with the kids to begin the search for more, and sending my sister home to alert everyone else of the find.
I remember driving down a fairly busy secondary road (paved) and stopping the car to pick the shrooms I seen from the car on the side of the hill. The funny part, the yard I was picking out of, that owner was out mowing his lawn as I picked and never noticed me because the lilac bush sort of hid what I was really doing (again, all’s fair in the mushroom war).
I remember taking a guy on our first date to northern Michigan (a 3 hour drive) just to look for shrooms. We came away after a full day with several full 2 lb mesh onion bags. I actually married that guy (and we’ve been together 13+ years). I found the most of the shrooms that day because he wasn’t really looking at the ground, or so he claims.
....Continue reading I Remember
I remember my husband going to northern Michigan with his buddy and coming home to proudly show me the small lunch bag of shrooms they’d picked; only to have me pull a full-size grocery bag containing my haul from the same area out of our fridge. Boy did we laugh over that.
I remember picking mushrooms while it was snowing.. and my sister said I was going too early for picking in northern Michigan (April 6th — earliest ever pick).
I remember driving the trails in my Volkswagon Jetta in Mesick, and opening the door to pick from the car. I’ve been known to stop the car in the middle of the trail, just to run out and pick one off the side of the road that I noticed as I was driving by.
I can remember walking through the most unlikely spot to find a mushroom in those same woods, and hitting a mother-lode (sorry, I don’t carry a camera in the woods, I have a hard enough time keeping track of my walking stick). As you looked down the hill, you could see them poking out of the leaves. I’ve never picked that many in that same spot since. Still find some, but nothing like that first haul.
I remember struggling up to the top of a hill in the quest, leaning against saplings and wondering if my arms were long enough to grasp the tree above me to help pull me up the next few feet, only to reach the top to find nothing… or so it seemed. After sitting for a bit and getting the oxygen back into my starved lungs, I looked over my shoulder and discover a nice little patch that I could pick without having to get up.
I remember struggling up that same hill the following year, to discover that the deer also liked that spot as I scared two of them off; and I still find shrooms in the same place every year, just not so sure I can make the long struggle up the hill.
I remember taking my beloved dog Bear hunting, and every time he sat down in the woods, he sat by a shroom. That was also the year he got slapped in the face by a baby porcupine.. Warning, if you are taking your dog shroomin in Northern Michigan, you should also carry a small pair of needle nose pliers, a handkerchief and water just in case your dog stumbles across a porcupine. Thankfully, it was a baby and not an adult. We had to pull about a dozen quills out of his muzzle and tongue. Poor guy.
The shroomin’ memories could go on and on and on, and I could fill pages about the fun, thrill and excitement of looking for and finding the delicious morel mushroom. It is the one reason I look forward to spring… otherwise the snow could stay because skiing is my other great love.
Happy hunting in 2009 to all fellow hunters; and if you run into someone in the woods, and you stop to chat, make sure you look at their feet, because I don’t know how many times fellow shroomers have stopped me in the woods to chat, and I’ll be standing over the top of a shroom waiting for them to walk away so I can pick it!!
Thanks for the opportunity to list the memories
Courtesy of Besty R. from mid-Michigan. – submitted 2009.
An Essay on Morels….
Note from The Great Morel: This is essay which was submitted to The Great Morel from Racheal in Idaho. She does a fantastic job in portraying the various aspects of what morel hunting encompasses. Hidden in her work is the ever occurring theme of family.
Keep in mind this was a personal essay where I had to have a research element. So not all of the info may be accurate to someone like you who knows so much about it. A lot of it just comes from mushroom hunting in Idaho since I was small. I did get a 300/300 on it though, and she wants to put it on her website as an example of an essay, so she gave me an additional 30 extra credit points. But thank you so much for making this site available, it was a great help when looking for info. I will also resort back to it for personal use. Even though we go hunting every year, there were many things I still didn’t know about them. Racheal
Morels, Brains, and Elephant Ears – an Essay by Racheal
Mushroom hunting is a season here in Idaho. When Spring comes and the weather starts to change, people begin talking about the mushrooms. People are more than happy to talk about their catch, but hardly ever will you get anyone to tell you exactly where they go. We keep our spots secret, so the next year we might have a better chance of coming out of the woods with a heavy bag of wild mushrooms. We have always went mushroom hunting as a family. My mom, my sister, my grandma, my grandpa and I have went almost every year. I think I have been going since I could walk. Some years we add more people into the bunch. I love to take someone who has never gone before. They get so excited if they happen to be the first to find a mushroom.
Supplies you will need: As we prepare to go mushroom hunting we must think ahead. Some tools are very essential for mushroom hunting. First, a knife is needed. It just has to be a small pocket knife or a paring knife from the kitchen. You also need to have a plastic bag for carrying them throughout the woods and also have some flat boxes that can be laid in the trunk. It’s good to spread them out because the weight of the mushrooms causes them to crumble. If you are unfamiliar with the area, you should go with a map or compass just in case you happen to get lost- as it is an easy thing to do since you are walking through the woods for hours looking at your feet. A few years back, my sister-in-law and I went out mushroom hunting alone. We went to a place that was familiar but somehow we got turned around and ended up on another road. We had no cell service and we ended up walking for about an hour before we finally found our car. It was a very scary experience.....Continue reading An Essay on Morels...
Usually it’s still a little cold. So we try to have several layers of clothing just in case. It’s important to wear long pants and sneakers, just in case it is warm enough for the snakes to be out. We also wear our hair up, sometimes with a hat because some years we have seen ticks. We always make sure to bring an extra coat in the car, in case it does get cold. We also pack a lunch and make sure we have extra things to drink. You never know when your car will break down, or you might get stranded. It’s always better to be prepared.
Weather: The weather is the most important determinant of when to go mushroom hunting. Most of the mushrooms emerge as the snow starts to melt (Freedman). People have all kinds of their own ways to determine when they should be heading to the woods looking for mushrooms. Ideally you should wait until in the spring when the temperature rises during the day to the sixties, and no colder than the forties at nigh- time (Stewart). Most people who I know wait until we have had some rain and then a few really warm days. We always go to Waha, which is about thirty to forty five minutes away from where we live. It is UP in the mountains, and my grandpa used to tell us that to find out how high up to go, you look for the skunk cabbage. Skunk cabbage is a green sort of foliage that erupts through the ground at the beginning of spring. If you break a piece off, it really does smell like a skunk. As you travel up the Waha grade, it starts out small, sometimes barely poking through the ground. As the elevation gets higher, the skunk cabbage gets larger. The wild mushrooms like to grow in the same sort of environments as the skunk cabbage does.
Environment: Wild mushrooms usually like moist areas, around burnt areas, and around fallen trees (The Great Morel). We have also always had more luck in the shady areas, such as under larger trees. Also areas, that are not as accessible to wild animals, like right around stumps of trees or in smaller areas that deer may not be able to get to. So it requires a lot of looking underneath brush and leaves. Just because you find them in one area one year doesn’t mean you will find them in the same spot the next year. They like to move from one area to another (Freedman). When picking the mushroom, we use a small knife and cut as close to the ground as possible without digging it up. This means it can grow back later. You are not harming it, it’s just like picking fruit off of a bush (Kuznik). We have a family place that we like to check out every year. You walk for quite a while before you come into this dusky clearing. It’s pretty shaded from the trees and it is off the path. The mushrooms are almost always thick there. You can stand in one place and pick a whole bag.
Different kinds of mushrooms: There are several types of mushrooms to look for. In our area, we mostly pick Morels, Brains, and Elephant Ears. Elephant ears are very hard to find. They are a medium brown color and are flat to the ground. They are very fragile so we usually don’t end up with any of them. They are still fun to find though. Brains are also less common and very crumbly. They do look like brains, and are usually a medium brown color. Morels are the most common, and best tasting ones that we usually hunt for. They are firmer and still have the appearance of a brain. But usually they are longer, anywhere from one inch to four or five inches tall. They have a cream colored stem, and the top color ranges anywhere from brown to orange to black. Stay away from mushrooms that are mushy or wormy (Freedman). Wild mushrooms have a smell that is kind of hard to describe. They smell a lot like mushrooms in the store. They have a very earthy smell.
Precautions: It is important to know what you are looking for when mushroom hunting. There are many species of mushroom that look similar to the one you may be hunting. In our area there are some that are called “False Morels”. They differ from regular morels because the real ones are hollow on the inside when you cut them in half. The false morels contain a meaty middle to them and it makes them quite heavy in comparison to real morels. It’s important to know which mushrooms you are picking because mushroom poisoning is very dangerous. The false morels contain a toxic chemical called Gyromitrin, a toxic and possible carcinogenic chemical. Some people think it is possible to cook them in a way that it is not harmful, but researchers feel differently. Ingesting a false morel can cause diarrhea, headaches, vomiting, nausea, extreme dizziness, and sometimes death. It’s very important to keep these away from pregnant women and small children (The Great Morel). False morels are potentially deadly when eaten raw or not prepared correctly (Wikipedia). There are several precautions to take to avoid becoming ill from the wild mushrooms. First, you should cook them all the way through. I have never heard of there being a certain temperature to cook them to. But when they are sliced and breaded, they should be thoroughly browned on both sides, which will be long enough to not have to worry about contamination. You should also keep the mushrooms types separated. Finally, if the mushroom is new to you, eat only a small amount to be sure that you wont have a reaction to it (Fogel). If you think you may have ingested poisonous mushrooms, go to the hospital. They can determine if your mushrooms were poisonous by checking your blood, urine, or stomach content for a specific toxin called alpha-Amanitin. This is found in some types of poisonous mushrooms. “There are treatments to reduce or eliminate the toxicity of certain (but not all) poisonous species to the point where they may be edible. For instance, false morels are deadly poisonous when eaten raw or incorrectly prepared, but their toxins can be reduced by a proper method of parboiling (Wikipedia).”
Cleaning wild mushrooms: After you pick your wild mushrooms and return home it is very important to clean them properly. Mushrooms cannot be washed like other vegetables as they are very fragile. Some sources say that you should slice them down the middle and rinse them (Freedman). Our family always gets them home and cleans them up as best as possible. Then we place them in large tubs of salt water and keep them in the refrigerator over night. We do this because there is not only a lot of debris that come off of the mushrooms but there are also a lot of tiny bugs. If they are really dirty we change the water in between. I personally would not avoid the soaking process. It does not take away any of the flavor. Some people think that mushrooms absorb the water if soaked, but from our experience they have never been soggy or mushy from one or even two soakings.
Cooking wild mushrooms: Our family have a certain way that we eat our wild mushrooms. I found a recipe online that is just like the way that we eat our mushrooms. We like to slice them in half or even quarters. Then we dredge them in flour, salt, and pepper and fry them in butter until they are very well browned and a bit crunchy (Chef Sara). Then take them out of the butter and let them sit on paper towel. Morels have a nutty meaty taste to them. When you cook them until they are crunchy they are a bit salty. We love them. They are a little rich, so it is good that you can only get them once a year. One year we had some missionaries from church over to try our mushrooms. They both had lived in areas where they did not hunt for mushrooms and they were very excited to try them.
There are many other ways to eat wild mushrooms. My grandma likes to add them to spaghetti sauce and casseroles. People like to try other recipes such as Morels in wine sauce, Morel mushroom soup, Mushroom gravy, and Morels and wild rice (Pendleton). People also like to cook with dried morels. They say that the flavor is still very good and you just have to add some liquid to plump them back up before you add them to your sauce (Freedman).
Being together as a family: We really enjoy going mushroom hunting every year. It a great family activity. There is no TV or phone to distract anyone. It’s nice and quiet and gives a family a great chance to reconnect with each other. Mushroom hunting can be very physically demanding depending on where you hunt, there is a lot of walking involved. If you are unfamiliar with the area, precautions should be taken to avoid getting lost. My grandpa is missing from our hunting party now. I am pretty sure if there was one thing he misses it would be the mushroom hunting. We spent so many spring days walking through the forests of Idaho. My grandpa always used those days as teaching for something else. Those days were always spent learning many things, I even learned how to drive a truck while we were mushroom hunting.
We look forward every spring to loading up the car with our cooler and warm clothes. So many of my childhood memories wrapped up in this activity, and so many family members are involved. We had so much fun trying to see who could find the first one. We used to race to see who could find the most, and sometimes it got pretty wild if two people spotted one at the same time. So, for now we sit back and wait. As soon as grandma gives the word that the skunk cabbage is up, we will start getting ready for our next hunt.
Fogel, Robert. “Mushrooms or Toadstool?”. Utah State University Intermountain Herbarium. 10 Mar 2009. < http://herbarium.usu.edu/fungi/FunFacts/mush_hunt.htm >
Freedman, Louise. “Wild About Mushrooms: Morels”. Mycological Society of San Francisco. 10 Mar 2009 < www.mssf.org/cookbook/morels.html >.
Kuznik, B. “Hunting For Mushrooms”. 10 Mar 2009 < http://home.att.net/~mushrooms/ >.
“Mushroom Hunting”. Wikipedia. 10 Mar 2009 < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushroom_hunting >.
Pendleton, Karen. “Pendleton’s Country Market– Morel Mushrooms” 10 Mar 2009 < http://www.pendletons.com/morelmushrooms.htm >.
“Sara’s Kitchen”. 10 Mar 2009 < http://chefsaraskitchen.blogspot.com/2007/05/fried-morel-mushrooms.html >.
Stewart, John. “1 Morel Mushroom Lane”. 10 Mar 2009 < www.morelsandmore.com >.
“The Great Morel”. 10 Mar 2009 < www.thegreatmorel.com >.
Courtesy of Racheal in Idaho. – submitted March 2009.
Note from The Great Morel: Much thanks to Racheal in Idaho for this wonderful essay.
A West Virginia Mother-Lode
Hi, My name is Andrew from Saint Albans, West Virginia and I’m a shroom-a-holic. I’m one person that gets on this site months before the first mushroom of the season and reads the stories, looks at the pictures and just counts the days. With that being said I never thought I’d have a story worthy of being posted….until now. This is my story of the spring of 2008.
I’ve always felt like West Virginia doesn’t get its dues when it comes to molley moochers (morels to most). Well this year, I’m certain we’ve got to be among the better states…..
In general I find the first morels around the very beginning of April and the earliest ever was march 31. This year was much the same and the rain couldn’t have been more perfect. As the season started I went out and picked about 100 and just wasn’t able to spend nearly the time hunting as usual due to my new job and as many of you will probably relate to, I felt like my season had slipped away come about April 20th. To ease my suffering I shifted gears to turkey season and started to obsess over that instead until one day I got a call from my nephew. He told me he was throwing a football in the yard with his cousin and the ball went into the old empty horse pasture where there were some old apple trees and that they found what they thought was a molley moocher. So I hopped in my truck and headed over and it was a HUGE white one. very strange for me considering about 95 percent of the ones I find are black. I talked them into looking some more and we found a total of 15.
I went home that evening and thought about how that reminded me of stories I’d read on thegreatmorel.com and thought about maybe sending it in…..then it got better!!!! The next day I was sitting around bored and thought maybe we hadn’t found them all and I’d go give it another look.
I went over and found two more. as I sat there I thought about how last year I found 3 whites in the woods near there while I was turkey hunting and figures I’d go do some scouting and maybe check that spot…although I was mostly going to do some scouting…I didn’t even bring a bag with me. As I started in the woods and up the hill it was about an hour and a half before dark. As I peaked the hill and got to the fourwheeler trail I happened to look down and seen about 5 little whites. Picked them right away and kept finding them with every step. Soon my hands were full and I counted thirty. I was thrilled. so I sat them down and began to walk around the trail to the other spot I’d found them at last year, then I realized I could walk through the woods and get there and have a better chance of stumbling across another spot. No sooner did I get out of site of the fourwheeler trail did my jaw DROP!!!!!! The ground looked like turkey had scratched the ground to bits like I’ve never seen before and the ground was COVERED with white morels. I took off my shirt and tied the sleeves and neck hole and picked and picked and picked. I counted as I picked and by dark I had over 400 and was still finding them everywhere!!! The next day after work I was on a mission and I got my 6 year old nephew and we picked probably 300 before we wanted to go home and the I picked 250 more opening day of turkey season.
Over 1000 total, not just in one season, not just in one county, not just in one section of woods but on one hillside!!! It might never happen again, but I’m glad it did once in my life. I’m so happy to share.
Courtesy of Andrew from Saint Albans, West Virginia. – submitted 2009.
A new adventure in our lives…
The winter of 2008 I discovered there was a thing called a morel.
I did quite a bit of research on the subject mostly from “The Great Morel” homepage. Thank you very much. My wife and I could not wait till the “season” started. Living in Southern Ontario we had quite a wait. Finally it was time. We loaded up the car and headed off to find OUR morel patch. The fist place we stopped at we wondered around thinking surely we would find the mother lode. No luck.
The second place we stopped at I told my wife I was going to tramp through the bush and let her know when I found them. My wife stayed near the car walking a path near the river. I was hiking through the bush for about fifteen minutes when I heard a faint voice, “Is this one?” I was not having any luck so I headed back to the car to see what she was talking about. I found my wife about twenty feet from the car pointing to something on the ground with her morel stick. Sure enough she had found the elusive morel. We searched around and found “we” had discovered our first morel patch. We were hooked.
I read several theories on where to find them on your homepage and one thing sticks with me “morels are where you find them” or in this case where your wife finds them.
Thank you Great Morel for getting my wife and I started in this new adventure in our lives.
Courtesy of Earle – Southern Ontario Newbies – submitted 2009
The Briar Bush…
I’ve always found that the experience of hunting “shrooms” to be a mystical and magical one. The feeling of being part of nature and walking with and among gods creatures in the woods of Northeast Ohio was instilled in me from a very early age by my father, who was always in a contest with the rest of the local shroomers, to see who could out do each other in the spring for finding the elusive “sponge”. I think the reason he started taking me and my sister with him to go hunting shrooms was that two more sets of eyes might give him an advantage and bragging rights when the others came around with thier days’ find.
This one sunny afternoon in late April,was a beauty. Clear blue sky and temperature hovering in the high sixties. We entered our favorite woods in Amish country,via a dirt farmers road. We walked in with high expectations and was antisapating the first “found one”. But as the afternoon wore on, it was becoming apparent that this might not be our day as there was not a shroom in sight.
Being a young boy, my attention span was wearing thin and I was becoming figity. My dad seeing this, told me to keep looking around the dead ash trees. He said he was going to walk down a little further into a bottom, where a small creek ran through and the was a dead elm near it. As I continued to look, I heard him yell for me to bring my bag and come fast. When I got to where his voice came from,all I saw was his two feet sticking out from under a huge briar bush. He said, “get on your hands and knees and get under here”! Excited from his emotion, I did as I was told and when I was under the bush, after getting my arms and face scratched, I saw what all the excitement was about. There under that briar bush was at least 100, if not more small “Greys”. Not a lot if your only found a few, but when found in such abundance, would make a few, nice messes in the skillet for the next few nights. I screamed and started picking, pinching the stems off at the ground. I bet we picked mushrooms for at least thirty minutes, making sure we did’nt miss a one.
Well, thats only ONE of many stories I have from my childhood years of “shrooming” with my father.
P.S. Great web site, Thanks.
Courtesy of Chuck Agnes – Northease Ohio – submitted 2009
Spring Equals Family and Hunting Morels
I was astonished to find morels at my grocery store now—in July!
But I am really writing to share a short story:
I remember hunting morels in Missouri with my parents. Now understand, I moved to Indiana when I was FOUR! Just shows what a tremendous impact the “hunting mushrooms” idea had on me!
I remember my dad getting annoyed at me because I would be excited about finding a flower, and he’d think I’d found a morel! LOL
I continue to hunt morels every spring here in Indiana. For my family, it is a given — spring = morel hunting time.
Speaking of those “in the grocery” morels—we had a morel party last weekend at my mom’s (she’s in her 80’s). I brought down the morels I had purchased at the grocery and we all had a whale of a time, consuming two pounds with no problem.
Courtesy of Sherry – in Indiana. – submitted 2008
Morel Discovery Story
I have a “Morel Discovery Story” that dates back to when I was about 8 or 9 years old – which would go back to circa 1962-63. My grandmother and my mother decided one day in April during that time period to go “mushroom” hunting in the timber on the farm of my grandparents. Grandmother and Mother took their “little” sacks and went searching. They ended up coming back with 3 bushels of golden morels. Grandmother and mother had to remove their rain coats and then their blouses to pick the crop and arry back. They emerged from the timber, some old neighbor was driving through and saw the two women emerging from the woods in their bras and bounty and honked his truck horn loudly (they were very attractive women). Grandmother just cussed at him. Our whole family then went back and found yet another bushel and a huge black snake that Dad grabbed by the tail and snapped his head off during the second search. The golden morels were huge. They were wonderful and we ate them until we were sick. And gave away what we could not eat anymore. I remember my brother holding his stomach (I probably was too.) and asking for a burger or hot dog in place of after the mushroom eating orgy.
The punchline during that early ’60’s find? My father was a rural mail carrier and the same day of the family women’s find – he spotted some little ones on his route earlier that day. He drove in at lunch, so mother says, and with a smile shook the small sack he had. Mother slapped opened the trunk of the car because she had just gotten home with some of the massive find and just threw a “here-it-is” gesture to the morels. The rest is history.
Some years we have nothing. Some years we have the morel-wealth. The golden mushrooms are quite late here in 2008 due to the weather but are very flavorable. And a good three to four inches tall.
Later – thanks for your page and the wonderful recipes. I have fresh asparagus from the garden and intend to do at least the recipes you list as well as the steak sauce ala’ Morel.
Courtesy of Alice B. in Northwest Missouri. – submitted 2008
Addicted to hunting mushrooms
I was searching the web and happened upon your web page.
I have been amazed and obsessed with morels since I was knee high to a tadpole. My dad would take my brothers and I “mushroomin” when we were kids. Being the second to last child out of 12 children, my dad has some years on me and definitely had his favorite spots. I loved it then as I do now.
Up until last year I have never found more than 5 or 6 at a time. As you will see in the photo attached I finally hit a nice patch of shrooms last year. My coworkers in-laws acquired some land and I obtained permission to hunt it. It was a small patch of woods About 6 to 8 acres surrounded by farm fields. Surprisingly I found around 200 . I called my wife from the woods and told her to keep dinner warm I was going to be late.
I tend not to preach but this phrase goes along with the tempestuous ride of being addicted to hunting mushrooms: If you don’t pray to God on a sunny day, you sure shouldn’t pray to him on a cloudy one!
Thanks for the great site.
Courtesy of Jerome S. – Millstadt, Illinois. – submitted 2007
A Fungus Among Us
I slowly stood up in front of 50 other people, in a room quiet enough to hear a horsefly chewing his cud. I nervously clasped my hands together and squeezed my fingers until the knuckles turned white. When I finally spoke, I could feel the shakiness in my voice. “Hello, my name is Skip Coryell, and I’m a fungaholic.”
“There, I said it! Yes! I’m a mycophagist! I eat fungus, and I’m proud of it!”
Suddenly a weight lifted from my shoulders, and I felt the shame I’d known since childhood peeling off my back like the dead skin on a molting rattlesnake. But once I had started my confession, I couldn’t stop. I ranted on and on, the cathartic raving taking on a life of its own. I had been forewarned that once you start down the dark fungal path, forever will it dominate your destiny. But I hadn’t listened. Like so many people before me, I thought I could handle my fungi.
“Okay, I admit it! I eat fungus. I eat it alone! I eat it with friends! I even eat it early in the day when no one is looking! And once I take that first bite – I just can’t stop until every mushroom in sight is slowly being digested inside me, becoming one with my alimentary canal. I can’t help it! Fungi is fun!”
And what is my fungus of choice? Morel mushrooms. The entire genus of Morchella to be more specific. That’s right, I don’t limit myself to just one species, I’ll consume vast quantities of all five kinds of Morchella: Morchella Angusticeps (Black Morel), Morchella Deliciosa (tiny White Morel), Morchella Crassipes (Giant White Morel), Morchella Esculenta (Common White Morel), and Morchella Hybrida (a cross between the White and the Black Morel).
Pity the man who tries to separate me from my mushrooms. I’d sooner take away a man’s remote control. Okay, I hear you. You think I’m a little nuts. I don’t care. We all have our vices. It could have been drugs, sex, or even computer programming, but no … I’m a fungus-hunting addict!
How did it happen? How does anything like this happen? The old axiom is true “The morel rots from the head down.” My father was one of the greatest influences in my life. He could spot a 2-inch-high morel at 30 yards. He was truly a man above men.
But on a more serious note, morel hunting has always been a family event for me. I have five brothers and sisters, and we’ve all been morel hunting since we could walk. I have four children, and they were all mushroom hunting before their first birthday. Like the good book says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Morel hunting is also a very spiritual activity for me. It gets me out into the woods during my favorite season: the spring, when everything is green and new with the promise of warm weather ahead and the cold of winter is nothing but a dying memory. Nature reminds me of God’s creative power and beauty, and makes me feel closer to Him in a very special way.
So every spring I sojourn with my family to go morel hunting just as my parents did with me. I started morel hunting as soon as I could walk, and it’s been a family tradition for as far back as I can remember. I especially like to take my 4-year old and 6-year old out morel hunting with me. They get bored easily if they can’t see them, so every time I find one, I tell them that I can smell one close by. Then I point toward the general vicinity of the morel, and they find it for me. They absolutely love it! They view it as a team outing: Daddy’s nose and their eyes.
If you have never been morel hunting, you should consider it. In a day and age when many families are steadily growing farther apart, morel hunting can be wholesome, quality time with your family that you will never regret. Who knows, you could be the first in a long line of morel maniacs.
Courtesy of Skip C., keeping the faith in Michigan. – submitted 2006
His name was North
There is a patch of woods in suburban Detroit that we always visit first every year for morel hunting. This area of barely more than an acre, has a sentimental value, because it is there that the late North showed us what a morel was. Yes, his name was North, a kind, adventurous fellow, very energetic for a man in his seventies.
The first year he pulled up in his RV home with his wife Kitty Ann, barely a day had gone by before he had his new friend, my father, out looking under the elms for the Michigan grey morels, in the middle of a suburban area where the pesticides are prevalent and the average person knows nothing of the gems. That night we reaped the benefit of that ignorance, there was much comraderie as we dined on what is classified as a “mushroom” but tastes better than fried chicken.
North passed suddenly a year and a half later,and despite the sad feeling that comes over us we have kept hunting his gift that keeps giving on that acre of woods and brush. We remember him fondly, the man who in his fast friendship sang and played the guitar with us, debated politics, and showed us the glory and bounty of the non-animal hunt, and what can still be found despite the dwindling American woodlands.
Courtesy of Eric Nissani – submitted 2006
The Moral of the Story…
When I was first taught how to mow my lawn in the mid 1960’s I was about 14 and didn’t know a Morel from a Largemouth Bass. The backyard of the house is fenced by a cemetery. Never knew why; But Dad said it was to keep those neighbors in their own yards. Anyhow, the men that maintained the cemetery were collectively called “cemetery men”.
One mowing day in the late spring (about this time of year) two cemetery men were hanging around their side of the fence and they motioned me over as I got near with the mower. One of them pointed at the large patch of mushrooms and told me that, “those things were edible, you know”. I said I wasn’t going to play around with no mushrooms and proceeded to mow them down and suck them up in the lawnmower’s bag. I still remember empting the bag three times with all of those darn mushrooms clogging up the mower & bag near the fence.
Year after year the quantity of mushrooms became less as the host elm tree roots disappeared. One year my brother took a class in wild mushroom identification. These things we were trying to kill off every spring with a 5 horse Briggs and Stratton were Morels, he learned. Larry (my brother) was a cautious type. The books and teachers had the Morels pegged at a smaller size than the ones in my back yard. So he picked one that survived the Briggs (by nature of it being close to a tree trunk where I couldn’t get it properly mowed down) and he took it to the next class. You’ve surely guessed by now that it was indeed a Morel.
That mushroom ID class was taken about 1995. In the 1960’s there were hundreds; in ’96 we saw about 25 Morels. It has dropped steadily. This year it looks to top out at about 3-4. Time will tell.
I now have two brothers that are big fans and they keep a close eye on my yard near the cemetery fence. If this story has a moral it must be something about knowing your Morels. (Had to do that, sorry.)
Courtesy of Bill, from Westboro, MA – submitted 2006
I just read some of your stories and I must say, I was shocked to learn that morels actually grow after they “emerge” from the ground. I have hunted them for years and always thought that they remained the same after they “emerge”.
Anyway, I wanted to share this story, and have not tried it yet, but plan to this year if the neighbors don’t get them all.
My inlaws pack up their camper every year and head to Washington state for a month or so to visit family out there. The family loves morels, and since they had found several, thought they would take some out to share when they visited in late May. My father-in-law cut them in half, and dried them unwashed on screens before putting them in a paper grocery bag for transport.
A few days after their arrival, my mother-in-law decided she would cook them up. She filled a dishpan up with cold water, and put them in it to re-hydrate them before cooking them up as usual – dredged in flour and browned until crisp in real butter.
Anyway, since they were camping she threw the water from the dishpan out the door of the camper. The family was overjoyed by the taste of the morels, but also were surprised the next spring when they picked their own in the grass where my inlaws always park their camper, perhaps where mom threw the water, which may have contained some spores?!
Interesting, to say the least. I plan to give it a try!
Courtesy of Brenda B – Lisbon, Iowa submitted 2006 (visit Growing Tips page for more)
The Billy Goat Trudge
The day started off well as we prepared for what some call “The Billy Goat Trudge” on an absolutely beautiful spring morning. This stretch of woods is long and steep but most times well worth it, if you are a billy goat or have some in you, this hunt comes natural. For the rest of us, it is one helluva adventure!
The year (2006) has been like no other with the weather seeming to work out so the undergrowth in most woods is not too cumbersome and thick that you can’t see anything. The only problem is my schedule this year limited me to only having one chance of hunting woods of which I have hunted near my hometown (Sidney Ohio) for as long as I can remember. It seems the normal resources were depleted this year as we were missing some of the regulars. Josh and I decided we would hunt “The Billy Goat Trudge” by ourselves this year so we laced up, prepared our sticks, located our bags and on our way out of the drive we paid homage to the wonderful mushroom gods and asked them for a successful hunt.
We then met our driver near the exit spot and dropped off one of our vehicles and rode that ever so long drive to the other end of the woods. As we rounded the last corner we prepared to make a quick exit from our vehicle, as we did a car pulled up and was forced to slow down as the drop was made. The guy gave us a smirk from his Caddy almost as if he was making fun of my camo attire. I thought to myself….. “Kiss my butt buddy I’m going to sleigh them!!!” We then busted butt straight to the first spot out of site and out of mind of anyone around, moving in to what we mushroom hunters call “stealth mode” paying close attention to where we were and what we were stepping on not to alert the sleeping hound dogs atop the hill. You know, the usual tactic used by many shoomers so not go give away their favorite honey patch to anyone who may be in the area.
Once we got deep enough in the woods we split up and moved to the high and low spots looking for trees that have provided us success many years in the past. While I was towards the top of the hill I focused on the perfect ground ahead of me and around me carefully looking for the first sign. As I came across a honeysuckle patch I crawled my way through and stumbled across 2 large yellows. I carefully removed them from the ground and cleaned them off and placed them in my sack looking all around the area for any of their buddies that might be playing hide and seek. I looked and looked and still did not come up with anything so I decided to move on.
I met back up with Josh towards the middle of the bank and we split back up as I walked towards the top he stayed toward the bottom looking for any signs we could find. As I came up the hill I stopped to go under a vine and as I stood up I ran in to a few Yellows in a bunch. I then began looking around while I called for Josh to come up. As I did the 360 degree look I couldn’t help but stop what I was doing and mark all the clusters I could. I told Josh we found the Mother load! As he knelt down to help me start picking we started finding more and more. I had already filled my sack up almost to the point of not being able to close it and Josh pulls out his King size Pillow case. We picked everything we could see and even re-hunted the area several times to make sure we didn’t leave any standing as they might get lonely out there all by themselves!
During our excitement we made a few phone calls to some of the normal crew just to let them know what they were missing. We know that patches like this don’t happen every day (in our part of Ohio anyways). As we have made the “Trudge” a few times not finding a damn one of those delicious bad boys, even in the rain a couple times. When we were done re-hunting the spot we marked off about a 25ft x 15yd strip that we found all of the mushrooms in needless to say we were pumped! We then continued through the woods coming across the occasional one or two clustered together but that was about it.
All in all we found about 75 mushrooms in the one spot and about 15 throughout the woods. Needless to say hauling back the 10lbs of mushrooms we had never felt better and we are glad that we could have the chance to enjoy the spring woods on such a fine day! Now if I can only find some spots near my home in Lewis Center (Columbus OH Area) I will be a happy camper!
Courtesy of Mike Mentges – submitted 2006
The Short Life of My First Morel
I harvested my first ever morel on April 17, 2006. While walking out to get my mail. I glanced down at my tree/flower mound when I caught something foreign in the corner of my eye.
To my surprise, there, bigger than life, was what I recognized immediately as a MOREL!!!
I harvested it, and brought it into the kitchen to show my wife when she got home. Unfortunately, she arrived home when I was gone and didn’t know what it was, so she put it down the disposer…..
Courtesy of Rob Mickiewicz – submitted 2006
I would like to share a story with you and maybe have it posted on your website of a buddy of mine and his 3 year old daughter
My best friend of very many years and I were talking about morels when I noticed his two apple trees in his front yard along side his driveway. I told him that morels like to pop up under these kind of trees, and told him to check under them in about 2 weeks after the rains we were suppose to get. I turned around and happened to look down, and right there in his driveway were two little black morels. I told him to never mind looking then to look now. He ended up finding a few more when his daughter (my god daughter) asked me what we were looking for. I showed her the two morels that were in my hand then I turned around to look for more. It wasn’t 10 seconds later and my buddy and I heard her say “I found mine!” I turned around and she was holding the biggest mushroom we found that day.
Both of us were so proud. Maybe a future morel freak? We will find out
Courtesy of Rob Mickiewicz – submitted 2006
Now that it is Mushroom hunting season, I have tips for you on “Hunting”……
1. Fix breakfast for husband and son, get them on their way to work and school.
2. Make coffee, drink 2 cups while checking emails.
3. Take shower, find and put on “old” clothes, do hair, drink another cup of coffee, put on make-up, drink another cup of coffee, decide what earrings to wear, spray hair again with hair spray, put in contacts then put on old shoes.
4. Get bag, fill large mug with the rest of the cofee to drink while out and about. Find broom handle minus the broom. Put all in the car and head out, back up to get gloves, go to woods my husband told me to go to.
5. Park car in driveway that looks the safest to park in with out getting stuck or flat tires.
6. Put bag in pouch of hooded sweatshirt, get broom handle, put car keys in jean pocket, lock car, take a big drink Of cofee then head into the woods making sure to move the broom handle back and forth to scare creepy crawlies out of the way so you don’e seem them and have a coronary in the woods. Get busy looking at the wild flowers and forget where you’ve been walking….then somewhere out in God knows how many acres of woods…you have to “PEE!!” Look around for a bare area because you don’t know the difference between poison ivy or oak from wildflowers. Look again because you know someone will come walking upon you (not), say the heck with it and “Pee” anyways. Finally not knowing how long you’ve been wondering around you decide to head back to the car because you know someone else got all the mushrooms. Start heading out of the woods only to find a dirt road 1/2 mile away from where you are parked, but at least you are able to walk down the road to get back to what is left of your coffee! You see bluebells, dig some up so you didn’t get totally skunked!
7. Start looking for woods that a friend kind of gave you directions to, get lucky and find them. park and start adventure all over again!!!! Be damned if same thing doesn’t happen all over!!!!! Have to “pee”, get lost, find car 1/4 mile in opposite direction. Walk up road and find a “bonus” asparagus!!
8. Go to woods you went to last year, head to spot where you actually found morel’s and low and behold you come home with 16 of them!
9. Go to the Mint to have lunch but don’t ask the owner what you look like when you walked in…looked better when you left to go hunting!
Did that last year and had 2 weeks of “hell” and 2 1/2 bottles of calamine lotion!! So I am getting a little smarter just need to cut back on the coffee – not! Glad my husband had that gastric by-pass surgery so now son and I will get the majority of the goods! Have a great weekend and happy hunting if that is your thing to do, just wished I could find a really good spot with a bunch! If anyone wants to tell, I’ll do the work and share the find!
-courtesy of Rynonda in Iowa (2006)
Moving from Michigan to Tennessee lots of things are really the same but different.
Well after living there a couple of years out in a small place called Granville (really Nameless community) which is just about 65 miles east of Nashville in Jackson Co. We noticed people in the spring looking around in the woods and ditches. At first we thought they were getting the bait for fishing. (worms or lizards).
One day the interest was overbearing and we stopped to ask. The little ole man had a huge pail of “Land Fish”, he said. Well when he showed us what type of “fish ” he had we laughed. They were Morel Mushrooms by the bucket.
Of course, I couldn’t resist asking why they called them “Land Fish” and the answer that I got: “Well lady, they stink, but sure tasty on my eggs.”
What caused it was from all the damp leaves near and around them were musty smelling when they were looking. But they sure tasted good when I filled my buckets.
Courtesy of Kitty, in TN
Father and Son…
Yesterday my son and I were fishing from our boat in an area that I’ve never found morels, in fact, I didn’t think they existed in this region. My son looked up on a side hill and said “Dad, are those morels?” We beached the boat and found a beautiful crop of succulent morels in beautiful shape; nice and moist from having recently emerged. We picked a bunch and took our morels and the walleyes that were frisking around in our live well and headed to shore.
This what we had for dinner:
In a cast iron skillet I heated a couple tablespoons of butter with garlic. I added venison tenderloins from a beautiful fat doe I harvested last fall and lightly browned them and 1 cup of sliced morels. I added some wine that we made last fall from wild grapes we picked in the river bottoms along with salt and freshly ground pepper. The walleye fillets were cooked in foil on the grill along carrots and potatoes in foil. It was a feast and we either caught it, shot it, or picked it ourselves. Thank you God for creating me and giving me the opportunity to be free and alive in USA! I am not wasting the days that he gave me.
Courtesy of Matt, free and alive in the USA
Father and Son bonding…
Hi guys and gals,
Last year I was the one that called in to one of the NPR radio stations in Ohio, I think it was WXVU on a cooking program that featured mushrooms, and got this site mentioned on the air!!! Well, enough kudos for me, actually I bet that not many people heard the program, and in reality we all want to keep our mushroom secrets, well…. secret.
Well, anyhow, back to my story. Just this past season, my 14 year old son was bored, and I coaxed him out of his dark room, and into the wilderness. We walked out into a preserve, and got ourselves lost. I knew that somewhere out there, people found mushrooms, but for 5 years I never could find out exactly where they were finding them. Until now.
We had gotten lost. In fact, so lost that we ended up walking about 10 to 15 miles before the day was done. But as we ended our day’s walking, I spotted a morel right off the trail we were on. I told my boy that we needed to get on our hands & knees, and get off the trail into the leaves and brambles, and that’s what we did. We ended up bringing home a bag full of mushrooms that day. But I had some big blisters on my feet because I had just bought a new pair of boots.
Things have a way of evening themselves out, eh?
Courtesy of Scott & Charlie, somewhere in Ohio (Fall 2006)
The Year was 1993…
It was mid April 1993 my brother, Randy, and I were about to make our third or forth 250 mile journey to the Fort for the season. It had already been a pretty plentiful year. But who can find too many mushrooms? Randy, Darrel, and I think it was Ernie, and myself went out for another batch. We pulled into the Fort about sunrise hunted all of our usual spots and decide to go check out a new spot, further west. We had heard of people finding 55 gal. trash bags full, so we had to see it for ourselves being from the show me state. We pulled into the little creek bed it didn’t look like anything special, but looks can be deceiving when hunting mushrooms. Randy and me took one side and Darrel and Ernie the other, You could smell that old musty smell as soon as we got near the edge of the hill. We started finding 6 to 10 inch mushrooms right off the bat. It was the greatest sight I have ever seen hunting and I have yet to see it again.
My brother and I found over 65lbs. and the other two found at least 40lbs. That year all of us together found over 500lbs. That was the last year we got to hunt with Darrel, and we really miss him being with us in the timber. Today 04-04-00 Randy and I found our first mushrooms of the season We can only hope for another year like 93.
Courtesy of Brian, a Missourian In Kansas
Ever so thankful…
I have never liked mushrooms let alone waste my time in the heat and in the woods with flies and mosquitos looking for something I dont even like. I went hunting mushrooms with my husband about a week ago and that was the first time in my whole life I ever did. I wasn’t really into it at first , i was kind of excited at first thinking I would find a whole bunch and get to brag about how many I found when others found very few or none but after looking for only about 30 min I got discouraged…we didn’t find even one. I was not happy and thought to myself, “I wonder what God thinks of us down here walking in the woods looking for something that I just cant seem to find.” I thought it was ridiculous!!!
Then one day, My husband and I went to my best friends home to help her and her husband clean up and her husband came back with a friend with a whole bunch of shrooms they found at their families summer property. We then shortly afterwards decided to go schroom hunting there to try to find more.
I had a great time with my husband, best friend and her husband and their kids. We went back to their cottage and she showed me and my husband how to cook them. They were really good. I still don’t really care for mushrooms of any type but I did like them and would eat one or two again.
Now, when I am walking in the woods looking for mushrooms, I think to myself “God, Thank you for letting me have this best friend who has the best place to find morels and for giving me a way to have some very special moments in my life with very special people in my life.”
After all, If it wasn’t for her I would still be going in the woods thinking the same thing as before and finding nothing!
We found about 10 pounds of schrooms in about a half hour and they were pretty big ones too!
Story courtesy of Renee W
When I was a little girl, about 24 years ago, my mother and her sister took me mushroom hunting. My mother showed me what they looked like when she found one. She asked me if I could smell any thing? I told her yes, dirty diapers. She told me that we were in a patch of mushrooms. Now that I am a mother of a 9 yr. old son I did the same thing to him. Of course he said the same thing “smells like dirty diapers around here. I told him no you are standing in a mushroom patch You should see that child’s face when he found his first mushroom. Wish I would have taken a pic of him. He was jumping up and down, yelling, screaming “I found one” I told him to stop before he jumped on another mushroom. He was so proud of himself and wanted to get home asap to fry them up in the iron skillet.
I don’t know why my mother, myself and my son are able to smell a patch of them far in the distance but we can. “Dirty diapers”, the closer the smell the closer we are to them.
Here are some rules I told my son about hunting mushrooms. Where you find one you find more. If you find one, don’t pull it out by the roots. Pinch them off. I was taught this by my mother, and she was taught by her mother-in-law which was cherokee indian and basic teaching of eating from the land that surrounded her and treat it with respect and leave some for the animals and for next years hunting. For those first timers – make sure you have a good long stick to move the leaves around carefully to look under the leaves for a patch. Plus it is good to have incase and animal is near. Trust me, I had a snake come after me and I wacked him one in the head with the stick. That will teach him not to mess around with a shroom hunter. LOL! Make sure you have a good size bag, you never know how many you are going to get. If you are going to be out for a long time looking you may not want to use a plastic bag for you shrroms – I use a onion sack that the stores sell their onions in. This way the air is going thru the bag (plastic bags they seem to wither inside them) If it is not to hot out then plastic is okay. I like to take a tub of some sort – put water in it (add my salt to it to kill the bugs that are in the shrooms) put that in my car – so that when I come out of the woods the shrooms go directly into the salt water and keep till I make the long journey home. Make sure you have a lid that fits tight. Always soak your shrooms in salt water for a while so that the little micro bugs are dead. Trust me you will see them floating on top after a while of soaking.
Happy hunting from Kay in Kettering – Ohio (diaper smeller)
To the great morel hunters:
I couldn’t help but notice when I looked at alot of the pictures on your page most of the mushrooms were PULLED UP. I was brought up and taught that they should not be pulled but cut or pinched. This does not allow the mycelium which the mushroom grows from to be exposed to the air and dry out.
My wife and I have a mushroom bed approx. 150 yards long and about 60 yards wide. We have hunted this spot for 12 years and never fail to haul out 300 plus each time we venture there. Many times we can go back to the exact same spot within an inch or two and find another mushroom the next year. And we believe it is because we pinch them off and Not pull them. I have had friends tell me after a few years their spots die out but they have pulled theirs.
Please let me know if there is any thing to this belief. It works for me. Our greatest year was 1998, we found over 2800!!!! We have already found about 100 of the small greys this year. We live in Ky. Love your site love your mushrooms!
Courtesy of Mark and Kat
I am an avid rooner in Indiana (a MI native…Gods Country) and have been hunting them since I could walk. Last spring (1999) I took a professor of mine to get some picture of some morels for a book that he was putting together. We hunted all day and found only some roons by the house total of about 15. Very tired and hungry I decided to call it a day.
I was at my parents house so I decided it was time to take to 20 minute drive home. Tired hungry and basically skunked I hopped in the car and headed home. Just as I approached the first stop light in town I look to the right of me and saw something that looked a little too suspicions to pass up. I pulled my car into a a parking lot and jumped out. After running down the hill a little to get a closer look at what I saw in the mulch, I could not believe what I was looking at.
The landscaping had been finished of with cypress mulch the year before and everywhere there was mulch there were roons. I picked in a fury hoping that nobody would notice what I had found. After I finished picking I rushed back to my parents house and needless to say their mouths dropped when they saw the roons. All total I picked a little over 10 pounds of black morels in about 20 minutes (the best in my opinion) in the mulch. I guess you can never doubt the morel, they always pop up in the least expected places. I visited that same spot for the next few days and collected another 5 lbs from there.
You can bet I will be watching that mulch this year!
Courtesy of Adam
There’s always the memory…
Every year four friends and I would spend opening week turkey hunting in southeast Ohio. Well I was the only one who had scouted the weeks prior. While I scouted a few areas I had found quite a few spikes, greys, and turkey’s. I sent my friend David there that year, where the shrooms were, and while he was picking he was calling. He got a response from three Toms, which immediately ran in. David fired his gun at the leading bird then sprinted to his prize! He returned to camp with an 19lb turkey and 10lbs of giant yellows.
Well he had lost his boxcall in his haste. We searched every day to no avail, if you call 42qts of yellows an avail. Well the next year Dave and I scouted the same place. We found turkies and Shrooms again! We started picking when I reached to pick a cluster of three growing from inside an HS Strut boxcall. We couldn’t believe our eyes. Dave cleaned and sanded the call that night at camp and two days later called another fine Tom in and harvested it cleanly.
Well it goes without saying we visit that spot every year, if we don’t find any birds or shrooms there’s always the memory.
Courtesy of Roger and David
Helping a brother…
My brother and I went hunting in the Shenedoah Mountain area in Virginia. We stumbled upon several spots where clusters of 10-15 small mushrooms could be found, and we eventually collected over 150 mushrooms! Soon it became a game to spot a mushrooms next to the other’s feet. I had spotted several next to my brother’s feet, but he got the last laugh when, as I squatted and searched the ground he exclaimed, “Laura, there’s one right under your butt!!”
Courtesy of Someone in Virginia
I was looking for some information on growing morels and found your site. Thought I’d send in my story (or should I say my kids’ and my story).
I live in Northwest Missouri. I had only seen a morel growing once, although I had heard many stories of people hunting them. I had recently been taken out on a mushroom hunting trip, but it was unsuccessful. On a nice, warm spring day, I decided to take my 13 yr. old son, Jesse, and my 9 yr. old daughter, Katie out “shrooming.” We walked to the same spot I had been taken – through our woods, across a fence and through our neighbor’s pasture, and into a flat wooded area. We were gone for 3 hours, and found nothing! Exhausted and discouraged, we returned home. As a last ditch effort, I suggested that we might as well look in the small wooded area running alongside the driveway. As we entered the path, I was explaining to the kids again how the mushrooms looked. My daughter turned to me and said, “Is this one?” EUREKA!!! She had found one – a nice size too! A couple of minutes later, my son found a patch of ’em. We were all so excited, but I was kind of at a loss – why wasn’t I finding any. Then I hit the jackpot – I saw one little one and when I went to pick it, it was surrounded by a whole patch and, a couple of feet away, another patch. We were so proud. We ended up with a whole sack that we cooked the next day. Didn’t even have to leave our own property!
Courtesy of C. Jarrard
A note from The Great Morel: always remember, what you take into the woods, bring out of the woods. Keep that in mind as you read this next submitted story.
I had an uncle who hunted every year. He would save vacation days and use them in the spring for mushrooms. His wife would drop him off at our woods at 7:00 AM on her way to work. He would carry a cooler full of beer with him (and these were the days before light weight coolers). His wife would pick him up at 5:30 PM on her way home. He would leave the woods with the beer gone and the cooler full of mushrooms. He would do this 2 -3 times a week. None of the rest of the family could do that well. We finally decided by the time he drank half the case of beer he must have been crawling and thats how he found so many.
Courtesy of Dan & Kandie Miller
The Great Morel shares a personal story….
My brother-in-law Dan and I were hunting along not having much success, when we heard up ahead a couple of older gentlemen coming up over the ridge toward us. Unsure of who they were we slipped down the hill and went into “stealth mode” and were going to wait for them to pass. As we both knelt down we heard one of them yell, “hey I think I’ve got a couple…”. As we were squatting we grazed the ground around us and low and behold we had planted ourselves among a patch of yellow morels. The two older gentlemen headed on down the hill and out of sight as Dan and I reaped the rewards. To this day, every spring the side of that hill gets combed and it has become one of the most productive stomping grounds. Had it not been for those two older gents, no doubt we would have walked right by that ridge..funny how things just happen like that.
This is a favorite of The Great Morel that you will also find on the humor page but worthy of it….
Seventy degrees after a thunderstorm
I stuffed a bread sack in my back pocket and I headed out for the woods
I seen a couple kids spittin’ off’a the bridge
So I slipped along the fence-line and I low-crawled the ridge
But when I seen those footprints, buddy I lost all sense of right, wrong, bad or good
It’s the mushroom war of ’94
I hereby declare it and I’ll tell ya what’s more
Those scum-suckin’ slime buckets leavin’ those stumps
Are goin’ down for sure
You can beat me to my fishin’ hole, there’s plenty of fish
But when you start takin’ fungus off a good ol boys dish
It’s time for the mushroom war of ’94
Well I heard some voices thru the trees
Just’a laughin’ perty as ya please
They were haulin’ out my harvest in some fancy burlap sack
I sat right down, took off my socks
Filled ’em full of walnuts and some heavy old rocks
Then I took off screamin’ towards them mushroom thievin’ demons
Lookin’ for some heads to crack
It’s the mushroom war of ’94
Thain’t the kinda mushrooms you can buy at the store
Them slick-chicken patch-pickin’ low-life slugs
Are messin with my spores
You can rob my garden blind late in the night
But touch my morels and ya best be ready to fight
It’s the mushroom war of ’94
I came up on ’em like a wild-man and said
With both socks swingin’ above my head
If ya wanna see tomorrow boys ya better drop that bag right there
Well one of ’em tried goin’ for a stick layin’ near
So I popped him with my sock-o-rocks upside of his ear
His ear popped, the bag dropped, his buddy took to runnin’
Guess I made myself real clear
It’s the mushroom war of ’94
If ya think ya want my mushrooms well ya better think some more Snake-bellied, brain-jellied, timber-trackin-cleptos ain’t somethin’ I’d ignore
You can take my dog and turn him into mexican food
But pullin’ up my poppers, well now that’s gettin’ rude
You’ll be in for a war like ’94
Well that’s my story and it’s all true
Except for the beginning and the rest the way through
But ya gotta admit those footprints have made ya feel that way before
Well keep your good wool socks on your feet for the snow
But keep a spare pair around close cause ya just never know
When you’ll be in for a war like ’94….. Danny Stephens
Just a Dream…
I just have to share this with you. I had a dream last night that my brother and I were out hunting morels, (in 90+ degree heat, here in Colorado, where you can’t find them except for a small pocket up in the mountains) and in the dream there was a temperature inversion or something and we were looking at a hillside where every upturned leaf revealed a huge morel. It started off with one, then each additional one we saw got larger and larger. We filled 4 garbage bags and were going back for more when the alarm went off. Man, you can’t make up dreams like that!…..
Courtesy of John C
Hey, hey, great sight (site?) I usually time my hunting to the lilacs across the street from me. When the flowers get ready to pop it’s time for me to hop. Typically, the 2nd or 3rd week in May. The morels I see most are of the esculenta and deliciosa (creamy colored) variety although I have harvested the black and crassipes. Got over 30 in an hour last spring, WOW! Since I’m in central and not the hotbed area in SW Wi, it was a banner day. Get ready, the time of joy approaches. (3 March 1999)
Courtesy of Larry Steinke – Wisconsin Shroomer
I live in Northwest Missouri and I usually go shrooming with my brother. Last year we faithfully spent each weekend searching the woods without a whole lot of luck. But, one day after spending alot of time in the woods searching for those illusive little critters I happened upon a gnarly old dead tree up ahead and thought ” If any place would be productive of the treasure it would be that spot” After the thought went through my mind, I spotted what looked like a morel. As I got closer I started walking a little faster because Lo and Behold it was! I bent over to pick it and several inches away there was another and then I spotted another and another and another. I hollered at my brother and told him I found some so he quickly came over to the spot. We picked and picked. After we reaped all we could find, we walked away from that approximately 20 foot square spot with “FIFTY” morels at least 5 inches long. I have never encountered so many in one spot before in my life and I love telling this story to anyone who will listen. I hope I can find that same spot this year.
Courtesy of Carol Helean – Missouri Shroomer
In the spring of ’93, I think it was, a friend of mine found three mushrooms, 1 of which weighed I believe 18 pounds, and two more which weighed 8 pounds each. I have the picture at work under the glass on my desk. They had a mushroom feed at the lounge in our town. Just thought I would share that with you.
Courtesy of Butch Smith
Of Morels and Wild Asparagus
Life is good…..
Spring’s sprung here in Northeastern Illinois in all its exuberance and magnificence. One of those rare and perfect days when the air is clean and pure and the sky is a deep and pristine blue and the temperature hovers around 80. And the grass is a thick lush emerald green and the trees foliage still in its infancy is beginning to leaf out as are the flowering trees with their delicate and joyful blossoms heralding new life and rebirth. And wildflowers abound…
Too, it is the time of morels and wild asparagus.
And it was my pleasure and my joy to spend the morning hunting morels and stalking wild asparagus from Nature’s bounty for this evening’s repast.
Ah.. and what a dinner it was!
Beautiful finger-sized morels with their delicate slightly nutty and earthy flavor sauteed in olive oil and a dollop of butter, enhanced by a robust portion of minced garlic and fine herbs, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and bite-sized pieces of scallion tossed in at the last moment to just heat through and maintain their crispness, then salted and served over pasta with shredded parmesan and freshly ground pepper.
And absolutely fresh pencil-thin intensely flavored crisp wild asparagus in a simple butter sauce on the side. Along with a green salad and vinaigrette, a warm crusty French bread with a chewy interior, a perfectly ripe brie and a chilled straight forward chardonnay that hinted ever so slightly of golden apples.
Life is good. God is great. And despite the insanity that pervades and prevails, it is the simple pleasures that make it worthwhile.
Courtesy of David
Adding them by the pounds
This year 1999 we set our own record for most morels picked in one area. There was one great big dead white elm with a little dead red elm next to it. On April 30 we had passed by these trees on our way to a South facing slope. There was approximately 120 little light grey morels there. The slope faced to the North. Based on past years test plots we had left them to grow. One week later on the 7th of May we had returned to the spot. Brett and I had smiles from ear to ear. The morels had quadrupled in size and weight. The morels had also turned to a light yellow color. We took the camcorder to the site and filmed the harvest. We had picked on our hands and knees for just about an hour. The end results were 264 morels weighing 10 pounds & 4 ounces.
We had broke 3 of our personal records in 1998. Most pounds in a season 301. Most pounds in a single day 40.5. Heaviest morel 1 pound 3 ounces.
Well I’ll keep you all up to date if we break any records in the year 2000.
Happy Hunting to All.
Courtesy of Jason – South West WI
Getting the Fever
It has been awhile since I got the “fever” but now I have it more than ever. I grew up in Central Illinois and learned about Morels while I was a Land Surveyor. The first time I picked them is when we were doing work on an old Mental Institution and we stumbled across a huge patch in the woods. A few years later I moved to beautiful Door County WI. A few years after obtaining my real estate license, I was at an open house at a new condominium and while waiting for people to come in I went out on the porch and looked down and to my surprise saw one, two, three (you know how it goes) morels! I ended up picking a grocery bag full and when I came back to the office I showed them to my secretary, and she said oh I think I saw some of those ugly things on the side of the office. I looked and promptly filled another grocery bag. I am pretty sure we had the same bark/mulch that was at the condo for ground cover. Anyway I went into production in my small apartment and was cleaning and drying (I was told you had to soak them then hang them on a line to let them dry)…my kitchen was covered with hanging morels! I invited some friends over and we gorged ourselves. I never found any morels since in either of those spots or any other woods for that matter. Last year we built a new house in an old orchard with only 3 or 4 trees left. To the rear is over 100 acre of woods which got me thinking I might get lucky and have some morels again (it had been 10 years since I found any). Well I kept searching the woods and actually found a few which made me very excited until my wife, while walking around her new garden found a dozen or so more but about the size of a fist. The more I searched the woods the more she would stumble upon them in places like next to our driveway, in a wide open dirt patch, and in the lawn! I know sit in my office dreaming about eating more (I have had them on my pizzas, steak, eggs, and a Culvers sandwich) with no end in site!
Take care and God bless!
Courtesy of Scott – Door County WI
Newt the Barber
This is an excerpt from “Newt the Barber.” one of a number of stories I wrote. All are taken from my younger days and discounting the exaggeration is a sort of autobiography. This mushroom story told by Newt may not be original but newt is the only source I’ve heard it from. Newt had a story for any occasion and was skilled at needling customers. -Don Ditzler
Newt allowed as how he had done good sure enough, “Yes sir! Reminds me of when I was a young boy and stayed at my Grandpas’ farm. Well, Gene that last fall they had been a tornado go through the farm. Cut right across the apple orchard. Tore up a lot of trees it did. Next spring we took a team and wagon out to clean up the dead wood… and by golly we wasn’t long in the orchard till we started to find morels. They were everyplace, big ones too (using his hands to illustrate foot high morels) all around them dead apple stumps and limbs. We filled that wagon with mushrooms. Then, cause we didn’t want them to go to waste, you can dry em ya know, Grandpa had to put up three more twelve inch sideboards. That wagon was so filled full the horses like not to have pulled that wagon out of there….and….? Something wrong? Whatsa’ matter Gene did I nick you? …What…? Where you going boy! …Gene I ain’t done yet!”
Gene had gotten up, thrown off the sheet from around his neck, and was stomping out the door. Newt followed him as far as the door and called in feigned contriteness, “Gene!, Gene, …well shoot boy! Come on back here, let me finish that haircut!” But by now Gene was off and gone down the brick walk. “Gene! You come on back and I will take them sideboards off the wagon!”
Courtesy of Don Ditzler – Savoy, IL
“Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell”
A Tribute to The Wilson Morel Morals
I was raised to know the laws of the land when it comes to morels. My dad’s number one rule: “Don’t tell anyone else where we’re going. Let’s keep it a family secret.” So goes this true story in the life of one Indiana girl trying to protect a particular mushroom spot my dad found in Michigan.
It was hot…probably too hot for even the mushrooms to be peaking their heads through the leaves. Yet, I was determined to hunt one particular spot until July if I had to. With my son in tow or should I say in stroller, we meandered our way through a woods, down a large hill and into the country where you smell them. Yes, the mother load was just beyond sight. We had visited it often in years past. As I was approaching “the spot” fond memories of this place flooded my mind…….
- When my dad originally found this place, we literally reached across the property line and fence on our hands and knees. They were plentiful and so were our smiles and meals to come.
- On year I was on my own…God forbid the family had other plans during the season. So I was going solo. Dad drew me a map, but upon entering the jungle, I realized I couldn’t tell east from west and ravine from hill. This is when you’ve got to love technology. I used my cell phone to call mom and she guided me through to another year of harvest.
- Several years back my sister and I visited this place and literally fell to our knees and scraped them in. I yelled, “Thank you, Jesus” and we began pinching them off as fast as we could.
- I thought of Leneigh’s curly, curly hair as I relived one year taking my niece in a backpack for her first mushroom hunt.
- I remembered the leap one heart takes when you hear the first, “Found one” of the year. Oh to hear it again. Oh to be the one to say it!!
All these memories were making me walk faster and fast. I stopped a few times while picking the stroller and son up to go over some logs, go around stumps, avoid poison ivy. Yet, it is only looking back that I remember doing those things because…sweet heaven awaited.
Upon approaching the ravine, the earlier rain had made our normal path a bit muddy. Me, a stroller and son (of course, the grocery sack waded up in my back pocket too)…how are we going to get down this ravine to only climb up to the other side…the side that mattered? I hadn’t thought of all this before entering this twenty minute hike. My only choice was to push the stroller down and then slide down on my derrier while holding my son. I’d worry about climbing up later. Pushing the stroller over the four foot drop was nothing. It tumbled. No problem. As I picked Mitchell up, the mud mushing under my feet sent me tumbling…straight down with son in tight grasps. I heard a “pop” and knew I had broken my knee right in two. Panic hit and Mitchell sensed my stress. As he kept asking me, “Mommy, you otay?” I pondered how the heck a helicopter was going to enter this place to lifeline me out. I found the stroller, put Mitchell in it and made sure I had my car keys. The adrenaline kicking in…not the brain…I finally remembered I had my cell phone. Still remembering that I didn’t want anyone to know where paradise was, I refrained from asking anyone to come get me. I instead notified the church I attend up the street that if they didn’t see me in 30 minutes to send help to the nearby woods. ANYWAY…to make this long story even longer, I could not go back up the drop-off so I took another route out of the woods…albeit longer, under a tree this time, by the river and then winding up at the same long hill to climb to get out.
As I managed to drag my leg and push my son I never lost sight of what was important for the day …so I continued looking for mushrooms all the way out. I even managed to stop a few times to push the maypoles aside for a closer look.
The golden statues were never found last year, but I look forward to reliving and creating even more memories this year in the land of plenty.
Courtesy of Julie Wilson Piazza – Hoosier born
Earl wins again – The Battle of Mushroom Hunting
My family introduced me to mushroom hunting when I was 6 years old. Today as a seasoned veteran at age 50, in the battle of the mushroom hunting wars I know exactly where to go and what time to start hunting.
Over the years I grew up to an adult male, taught my cousins how to hunt, and my nephew and niece. Today on the family farm it is a contest to see who out of us can get the most mushrooms. It has become a game where we each take soda bottles with us, write our names on the bottle, saying we were here at a certain location, adding little notes to tease the others. 2002 was a great year for me; I left 18 mountain dew bottles with notes. One cousin left one note, my brother left nothing and my nephews were plain shut out. I went 14 days straight, 7 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. Picked an average of 300 mushrooms a day. Almost all yellows, leaving only stumps and empty bottles for those who followed my footsteps. One bottle did have a note (damn that cousin Earl beat us to our mushrooms again).
It just shows that the early bird does get the mushrooms! My best day was walking into a little wooded area with a small creek running through the area, my first steps from a fallen cottonwood over the creek, I saw the first big yellow, and another, and another. In all, in one hour I picked 670 mushrooms, ran out of bags, took my shirt off, tied the sleeves together and filled it up with yellow morels. Now that is a great day. All of them were from 4 to 8 inches tall. Mushroom heaven can not be better. That night when I went to sleep, all I could see were those mushrooms around that cottonwood tree. Just calling me to pick them. Alas for my relatives whom I again beat to those wonderful spots, there is this message, maybe next year you can beat the old fox to the woods, until then, eat your hearts out for I have won again.
Courtesy of Earl in Illinois
A Mushroom Story
This is a very well written short story that was sent to The Great Morel by a gentleman named Scott. Its a good piece of writing, yet because of the length of this story I have saved it as a rich text file that you can read by clicking here. Take your time and enjoy it.
Courtesy of Scott M
Memories and Family
Another story sent in by a gentleman name Tim from New Harmony, Indiana. Its a story reflecting on the memories of family get togethers and morel hunts. Again because of the length of this story I have saved it as a rich text file that you can read by clicking here. Enjoy…
Courtesy of Tim Tron, New Harmony Indiana
A Heartwarming Story of Hope….
Six weeks ago after many trouble filled years, my husband decided it was it was time to go to rehab to kick an alcohol addiction. Thankfully it was a great program and he seems to have accepted the fact that those days are over. He attends AA meetings at least 5 times a week, two of them being at the rehab facility he stayed at. Well, this evening when he came home from one of the meetings at the rehab, he had something hidden under his shirt with a huge smile on his face.
In the past this would have been trouble, but when he said to me “You are not going to believe what I have to show you” I was a little nervous but curious. He emptied his shirt into the sink and there were to my astonished eyes at least 15 large cream colored morels! I was screaming as finding morels has been a springtime obsession of ours for years.
We live near woodlands and wetlands and have found mushrooms in the nearby metroparks, county parks and our own wooded neighborhood. My weekend plans included a trip to a nearby area where I hoped we would at least find a few to keep the spark alive. Well, more than a life change can happen at rehab! Apparently my husband was outside in the picnic area of the facility when a guy walked by him mumbling that there were mushrooms out there (pointing to the wooded area) and that he had picked some and put them in his room. Well my husband having been an inmate not that long ago knew that delusions were part of the process thought “yeah right, this guy is hallucinating” but decided just to take a look anyway. Well there they were, smiling up at him as if to say, “See what good things can happen when you are paying attention?” He picked as many as he could before his meeting, put them in his car and could hardly contain his excitement while sitting there not really wanting to share the info but bursting to tell someone.
He has another meeting on Sunday and if the mumbling guy hasn’t told too many people, maybe we will have another unexpected windfall. One day, one morel at a time!
Courtesy of “Hope”
A Mushroom News Article
A online-news paper article which was written by Melanie Csepiga, a freelance writer associated with The Northwest Indiana Times. It is a story she wrote on Morels for the paper’s Food feature page. Very well written and thanks Melanie and NWI Times for allowing The Great Morel to share it with others. Click here.
Courtesy of Melanie
Teach your kids to hunt…
Isn’t it great that mushroom seasons here again. After many tries I finally talked my daughter into going with me. It was her first hunt. I took her to my usual honey hole and showed her how to spot her first one. The rest was up to her, a bakers dozen on her first trip. Not bad. Even though I have only found a couple of pounds so far this year, I can guarantee that these she proudly displays are absolutely the best shrooms I have ever seen.
This was great quality time we spent together. Tell everyone out there… “Teach your kids to hunt. You will be so happy you did.”
Courtesy of Rodeo – Stanwood, IA
A note from The Great Morel: do teach your kids to hunt! It is time you both will cherish forever!
Hey TGM, Just wanted to add an interesting story to your batch. I am from NW Vermont and my wife and I stumbled on a small patch of morels a few years ago while walking on a fairly high traffic trail. I knew right away what they were, but my wife took some convincing. After harvesting the ‘shrooms and confirming their ‘edibility’ on the web, we had a nice and simple shroom omelet to accent the flavor.
The following year, I eagerly awaited the first week (or so) in May to look again for the fungus. Lo and behold….Nothing! Not a peep from the patch. I was disheartened and thought there might have been foul play, etc. So I waited and checked even more diligently the following year.
Eureka!! Another nice, little crop. Following the advice of another web page, I harvested these, put them in a mesh bag to distribute spores, and carted them home. I soaked them for a little bit in water to clean them and then set them out to dry slightly before cooking. In a moment of irrational inspiration, I dumped the soaking water behind the house in a flower bed.
Last year, I once again diligently checked the spot for treasure. Nothing! Coming home from the last trip to the spot, I decided that maybe these ‘shrooms produced every other year. I pulled in the driveway and was greeted by my wife. She wanted to show me something in the yard. Spring comes so late here, she is always showing me when new flowers, etc. come up in the yard. I obediently followed her around to a flower bed where I scanned for a new plant….and wouldn’t you know it……two morels had popped up! Not exactly where I had dumped the water the year before, but within a few feet. I couldn’t believe it. Long story short, yesterday, after getting home from a weekend away, there are again two smaller morels in the flower bed and none in the original spot. I don’t know if the original has run out of steam or if it was covered by dirt from plowing, but I’m thinking it may be done. Luckily, we seemed to have propagated a few of our own! All I can tell you about the spot is that it faces SE, it gets sun in the later morning and the soil is fairly sandy.
Just thought you might like what I think is an amusing fungus story. Now if I could just get my ‘shrooms to sprout more than two!
Courtesy of Jim and Laura – NW Vermont
Forgot the goods…
After finding around 25 morels on a Friday evening, my Dad asked me to bring some out for the Sunday barbecue (mom and dad live about an hour away). Half way there I realize that I have forgotten the ever so needed morels for the steaks that will be grilled for dinner. After arriving at my parents home (and witnessing the complete disgust on my dad’s face), I stated that my mother and I would just drive around and find some morels.
Easier said than done, of course and my dad was sure that there would be no morels for his porterhouse steak. However, after about a 30 minute escapade and no morels, I forced my mom to stop at the corner of a country road that looked perfect for morel growing. There I spotted about 25 morels. To top it off, they were much bigger than the 25 I had already found. I brought the bag of morels inside the house, laid them on the counter, and went to speak to my dad. I stated that we had found some, but didn’t know if there were enough or if they were big enough for our feast.
The rest is history…
Courtesy of Heather C
Love your site; here’s a story for your consideration (names changed to protect the innocent—more importantly, our land):
It was Spring of 2003 and my brothers and I were taking part in what turned out to be the inaugural weekend of an annual trail ride at our hunting lease in Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia. Now I’ve never been much for hunting mushrooms and quite frankly, until this time, wouldn’t dare eat any kind of fungus that couldn’t otherwise be purchased at the local Kroger store! But this trip not only turned me into a morel lover, but also a morel hunter.
Me, my brother Bob, and his son Bob Jr. went on a long ATV/MX ride in the hills, while our avid mushroom-hunting brother Frank went hunting morels on the same farm. After a while, we returned to camp and found Frank having a cold brew, with a big smile on his face. He said, “guys, I’m going to show you something, for your benefit, but only once and then I want you to forget WHERE I found it.” Bob, Jr. and me looked at each other in a quizzical way, as we thought Frank had gone totally off his rocker. So we went traipsing through a field, some short brush, and into the woods. Frank stopped for no apparent reason, and said “look”. We all looked down toward Frank’s gesture and saw what appeared to be a woman’s sex toy with a “French” cover on it, sticking straight up out of the ground. “What the heck…..????”
Frank informed us that this was the great, elusive morel that’s aggressively hunted in the Springtime. After a comment or two about what this particular ‘shroom looked like, Frank showed us how to get a precise measurement using the most state-of-the-art measuring device: his Budweiser can! Then Frank laid down the law, not only reminding us to “forget where you are”, but of the main rule when it comes to morels: don’t ever tell anyone where you found them.
So off I go on my ATV, fully armed with my recently-acquired knowledge, a pocket knife, and a lettuce colander. It wasn’t long before I got off my bike and started my first real ‘shroom hunt. And it didn’t take me long before I found my first: this bugger was probably 7 inches tall. Before I knew it, I was in a patch that kept me busy at harvest for quite some time. I didn’t know it at the time, but I later learned (from Frank) that I had happened upon a once-in-a-lifetime “mess”!
By the time I was back on my ATV, headed for camp, my colander was overflowing. As I got closer into Frank’s view, all I could see were his eyeballs, which were about the size of 50-cent pieces. He couldn’t believe what I had placed before his eyes. Neither could Bob and Jr, once Frank explained the magnitude of my find. Wouldn’t you imagine that within five minutes of my return, Frank asked: “Where’d you find ’em”? What? Didn’t you just tell me the first rule is…….”Never mind that; where’d you find ’em?” Well, I took a few things into consideration before I gave in:
1) Frank was good enough to show me, Bob, and Jr what this thing looked like.
2) Frank was good enough to show me his secret spot.
3) Frank’s more of a ‘shroom hunter than I am
and last, but not least…
…I was out of beer!
Courtesy of Rich
Corrupt Morels in Finland…
I’ve been visiting your site for some time now, it’s great. Thanks! Hope you’ll tolerate a European here. This is not much of a story, but I thought Finnish habits might make you smile.
Here in Finland (that’s Scandinavia) people just don’t eat the real thing. You can find plenty of morels even in our suburb not to mention the forests all around. Just the other day I showed a neighbor what she had on her lawn and right opposite her front door. Tried to describe the taste, too. Had an illustrated book with me to prove they’re edible and persuade her to try them.
No reaction. And she’s not the first one I’ve tried to convert.
But what they do love here is a nice false morel. We’ve got every store and market full of those, believe me they’re not cheap and still hugely popular. The restaurants serve only this brain-like poisonous variety, never the great morel. And you can’t get any morel recipes anywhere.
Though I’ve never had any problems after eating false morels either (note they’ve always been professionally prepared!) I’ve got to say there’s not much taste left in a mushroom after you’ve boiled it three or four times to remove the poison. But maybe people here simply enjoy the ritual? Opening all the windows, trying not to breathe in…
I just don’t get it. Good to know some people somewhere at least appreciate the great mushroom.
Courtesy of Varvara Protassova in Finland