[NAFEX] Morel mushrooms

Lucky Pittman lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu
Mon Apr 21 11:26:47 EDT 2003

I've been trying to get a couple of free hours to get out and roam the 
woods for the past couple of weeks, to check out the morel mushroom situation.

Finally got a chance to do so on Friday afternoon - and again, between 
thunderstorms, yesterday afternoon.

Ran across several  likely spots throughout my 80 acres or so of mixed 
hardwood forest.  Most were on east-facing slopes, moist areas - and I 
could usually spot evidence that the deer had been pawing around, looking 
for the mushrooms.

First 'shrooms I spotted were black morels(Morchella angusticeps), which 
are typically the first to emerge.  Many of these were beginning to 'melt 
down',  or were showing evidence of critter-munching.

Once you spot one, you just sit down and start looking around - where 
there's one, there will be more!  Didn't take long to start spotting the 
occasional 'yellow' and 'gray' morel (Morchella esculenta).  None were very 
big - or at least not as large as the ones that used to pop up in the yard 
of the farmhouse where we lived in MO, back in the early '90s.

Managed to gather about a gallon of yellows & grays, and about half that 
amount of blacks.  Took 'em back to the house, cleaned 'em, and fried up a 
bunch of those "dry-land fish" at supper on Saturday night.
My wife, the eternal pessimist, continually questioned my ID, but I was 
absolutely certain of my identification of them.  Since some folks 
evidently have an adverse reaction to the black morel - and I'd never eaten 
them before - I only cooked a couple of them, but ate them with no 
gastronomic upset.

As I was harvesting, I tried to get the base, along with some associated 
leaf mold and (hopefully) vegetative mycelia, which I cut off once I got 
back to the house, and am experimenting with 'seeding' the fungus into some 
well-rotted logs, woody plant material, etc. that I've been piling into a 
big gully below the pond for the past 9 years.  Don't know if I'll be 
successful in getting a colony established there, but figured I didn't have 
anything to lose by doing so.

It's been a while since I researched it, but at one point in time, a couple 
of the mushroom spawn vendors, either Fungi Perfecti or The Mushroompeople 
at The Farm(at Ethridge, TN, in the county where I was formerly in 
veterinary practice), or both, were offering morel-growing kits.
Wondered if any of you folks had ever attempted to grow morels?


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