Shhh….. I’m Hunting for Mushrooms

It’s our third week of hunting. We’ve been successful in bringing in the Wild Ramp, The over abundant dandelion, the fiddle head fern, the wood sorrel, the clovers, and even some cattail shoots. Some of these, like the fiddleheads and the ramps, have seasons that are about to end or have already ended, but for some the season has just begun.


Hunting for a Morel is like hunting for a fairy kingdom. You want it to exist, but you spend so long looking for it and thinking you see it, that you begin to think that maybe it only exists in tall tales or for small children. To find a Morel you have to be prepared for a good amount if disappointment and a lot of walking. They like to live in hardwood forests, especially near Ash, Elm and Cherry trees and they also supposably like old apple orchards.

They come in a variety of colors; the one most commonly found here is almost indistinguishable from the color of light dried leaves, a pale tan color, or the “Blond Morel”, Morchella Esculenta. One technique for spotting them is to get low to the forest floor and look up to see if there is anything poking out of the leaves or if the leaves are pushed up at all. That technique so far has not brought me any morels, but I feel very stealthy as I do it. I believe a morel knows when you are looking. It will tuck itself up under ferns, maneuver a leaf to be conveniently placed, or simply disappear.

Josh and I hiked for three hours around our property, hunting. We had to take breaks to rest our eyes from searching the leaves and fallen trees for our small fungal prize. We stalked around the brook peering with our untrained eyes for any protrusions from the leafy floor. We found pinecones; upright sticks, false morels, and even places where the leaves had been pushed up but when you moved them there was nothing underneath. We continued through the picker bushes, over the newly cleared pastures around the fallen trees from last years logging, all the places where a morel might want to live, and still nothing, nothing but decoys. Josh had been trying to give up the whole time thinking maybe it would trick them into coming out. I was sure we would find some but every time I had a good feeling about a place all that would come out was a globular false morel. We were on our way back when my eyes began to cross and I realized I wasn’t doing a very good job anymore. We were 500’ from our front door so I decided might as well just walk on the road and enjoy the last few minutes of our walk. That was when it happened, I gave up, and as I began to relax into just walking I looked down to the side of the road and froze, then I screamed. “Josh! JOSH!” I didn’t know what to do I thought that maybe if I moved it would run away. My heart was pounding, I couldn’t believe my eyes, they were real, they existed! Josh arrived and he approached it, of course nothing happened, it is in fact a mushroom and as far as I know they don’t bite. I know it sounds silly attributing mushrooms to magical creatures but I have to say I am beginning to believe in the holy morel divinity.
Our morel was there waiting by an old ash tree, did it know I gave up? Would I have found it if I had kept looking? Can mushrooms sense defeat? Can they chuckle? I for one am off to pray to the great fungal deity.

May 23rd, 2011|

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  1. cyn May 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    ..pretty sure they can sense defeat but i like the magic theory

  2. Robyn May 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    So I wonder if I just don’t look at all….
    So glad you found one!

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