When can you tell it’s Morel season? When the Morel chatrooms get quiet.
“Oh Morel, oh Morel. Where art thou, oh elusive Morel.” ~ Me.
I can’t think of a better reason to get me out of the house and into the woods than morel season!
As old man winter eases his grip on the northern part of the country, eager hunters look forward to finding the motherload.
At least that’s what they’re envisioning, like little sugar plum morel fairies dancing in their heads.
Morel hunting brings out the competitor in a person.
Don’t ever ask a morel hunter where their “spot” is. They won’t tell you.
Actually, go ahead and ask them and if they do tell you, pass it on to me!
Morel hunters are very protective of their secret location.
I belong to a local online morel hunter community, and someone asked the other day, “When does morel season start around here?”
A commenter responded, “When the chatrooms go silent.”
Especially in my local group. Some of my neighbors are in the group that openly reports local sightings.
We all suddenly get overly suspicious and watchful of each other.
“Is that Judy?” my husband said, looking out the back window at a person making their way back into our woods.
“There she goes again!” he says, exasperated as he pulls on his coat and grabs his bag, and starts hiking across our field.
We have a neighbor who tries to get a jump on everyone. She’s always hiking around bag over her shoulder. Always on the hunt.
She’s been accused of taking all the morels out-back, all the spring asparagus that grows wild in the ditch, someone's marijuana, and is always the first picker in the community garden in town.
So, what’s the big deal about morels?
If you’re not into mushrooms, you won’t understand. But, if you’re open to one of the most organic and delicious experiences your taste buds have ever had, you have to try a morel mushroom.
These fungi are considered “luxury ingredients” by many chefs.
Their slightly nutty, smokey flavor to any dish. I like mine lightly breaded and pan-fried. Here are some recipes if you’re interested.
They are not easy to find, and if you are lucky enough to know where some grow, people will pay upwards of $32 a pound in this area.
I just did a quick search, and you can find them for $50.00 a pound currently. They’re out of season here.
My last forage did not produce any morels. I’m sure Judy had been out there every day.
But I did find these lovely Pheasant Back or Dryad’s Saddle mushrooms that are delicious as well.
These mushrooms are fruity and smell like cucumber.
Here is my favorite recipe for these unique mushrooms from Medicinal Mushroom.
When searching for morels, you have to get low.
I walk bent down, looking about 1–2 feet in front of me. Scanning back and forth, back and forth.
Morels live in and on the edge of forested areas. Look for ash, aspen, elm, and oak trees, around which morels often grow. Early in the spring, as the ground is warming, you’ll find them on south-facing slopes in fairly open areas. As the season progresses, go deeper into the woods and onto north-facing slopes. ~ Field and Stream, January 27, 2021.
Morel hunting puts you in touch with nature.
Although my last effort didn't’ yield any morels, the experience was unforgettable.
I want to share with you some of the other views from my hike.
This guy was waiting patiently for me to leave.
This one was unbelievable. I was walking, bent over, looking at the ground. I stepped over a log.
Looking to the left, nothing. I look to the right, and there lies this fawn.
It didn’t move.
I started to walk away quietly. I think I even apologized to it for intruding.
Then I realized what I was doing, stopped, pulled out my phone, and took a picture.
The fawn never moved. Didn’t even twitch.
After I took this photo, I moved on.
I found this strange thing and felt compelled to take a picture. Don’t ask me what it is, and I have no idea.
K.L. Bennett is a mother of 6 awesome males, music lover, photographer, avid reader, autodidact, Ninja Writer, Taurus in menopause, trauma survivor, seeker of peace, living on a 100-acre farm in the middle of nowhere.