Oh, what a fine day it was for mushroom hunting! A light mist fell throughout the morning as my two pals and I headed up the mountain for this spring’s bounty of morels (and today’s “new thing”). We started in the easy spots—along roadsides, around campsites and disturbed areas, trail sides and turnarounds. We found a few here and there, but soon realized someone beat us to the job. The telltale hollow stems of the morels are easy to spot on the dark forest floor after they’ve been picked—and here an expert with a pocketknife left little behind for us latecomers. What we found is on the left; what we wanted is on the right:
The flowering part of this mushroom—the cat-brain blossom above ground—is the only part we were really after, so when we finally found our bounty we hunted with pocketknives too. Cutting the mushrooms at the base rather than disturbing the soil helps preserve the underground mycelium for future growing seasons. No matter which variety you’re after—blonds, blacks, or grays—the same holds true. Today, we found all three:
It requires a different eye and a different mindset to hunt for morels. There’s no zooming down the trail. No rushing to get to the goods. The only method that really works is slow and steady wandering, a perfect recipe for a meditative morning. The more I looked, the more I saw—not morels, mind you, but wild strawberry blossoms, geranium greens, violets, meadowrue and more. Pine needles carpeted the forest floor emitting a sweet, timber smell. Songbirds darted and scattered ahead of us while woodpeckers called overhead.
Further down the road, we hit the jackpot…and sure, we might have trespassed. Might have thought building an over-sized second home in pristine mountains was a bit much and, well, those morels shouldn’t go to waste and, well…I wanted to make morel chive fritatta with goat cheese and one of my pals wanted to fry them with garlic and butter and another wanted to try a white wine cream sauce and, well…