Carrboro, North Carolina
Born and raised in central Maine, my youth was spent mowing the lawn, kicking a soccer ball against the garage doors, and trying to sneak sugar cereal out of the kitchen cupboards after I was put to bed. More about Tim
South Royalton, Vermont
I am a baby boomer who grew up in a time when the trend in food was convenience and speed. It wasn't the fast-food era, but a post-World War II time when ... More about Warren
We live in Holliston, Massachusetts. When we bought our house in Holliston about 27 years ago, Holliston was a rural/residential town of about 13,000 people. More about Barbara
Wallace, West Virginia
My name is Autumn. I'm 24 years old, and I live in rural north-central West Virginia. I was born and raised in West Virginia, and in 2005 I graduated from ... More about Autumn
My personal interests revolve around the environment, both knowing more about it and getting outside and enjoying my surroundings. This led me down an educational path to ... More about April
Posted at 4:15 PM on April 22, 2008 by Autumn Long (2 Comments)
Yesterday Dan and I took the dogs for a nice long walk in the woods. But we moved a bit too slowly for the canines' taste, peering closely at the leaf litter and stepping with care. You see, we had an ulterior motive: We were hunting morel mushrooms. And we found them!
Morels, which include several species of the genus Morchella, are one of the most sought-after wild mushrooms in the United States. They are renowned for their exceptional flavor and are relatively easy to identify due to their unique appearance. Although widely dispersed throughout the temperate U.S., morels are notoriously stealthy. Their wrinkled, brain-like caps blend in remarkably well with the leaf litter of the forest floor. They usually fruit in April or May, with a very short season of only a few weeks. Some people claim morels like to grow in old apple orchards (this seems to be the case for our main patch), while others suggest they prefer dying elms or tulip poplars. They also can be found in recently disturbed areas, especially burn sites. Once you have located a morel patch, it is likely that they will reappear in the same spot year after year. But no sane mushroom hunter would willingly reveal the location of his or her morel patch, so don't bother to ask.
We usually only find a couple of the little delicacies on our property, so we were quite pleased with the day's take of about a dozen small Common/Yellow Morels (Morchella esculenta). I created a downright delicious pasta dish featuring sautéed morels, the earliest shoots from our asparagus bed, a bit of crumbled local bacon, homegrown garlic, and fresh chives and oregano from our herb gardens. Locavore bliss! We'll be back in the woods regularly for the next few weeks, seeking these secretive delicacies.
I agree with you! Morels are the best!! Here in Boise last spring/early summer, I was able to buy them for awhile for around $10 a pound. The Boise Farmers Market just opened and apparently the morels right now are running over $30 a pound! So finding them au natural is by far the most sustainable!!
I copied your morel sauté - sounds wonderful!
Posted by Scott | April 22, 2008 6:34 PM
Thanks for your comments. It's true that morels are ridiculously expensive on the market; in July 2006 we saw them at the Pike Street Market in Seattle for $12 a pound, and they looked quite old and funky. I'm not surprised to hear that the price has basically tripled since then. I am so blessed to be able to forage for these delicacies cost-free! Enjoy the sautee; I'm sure it would be tasty with any variety of wild or cultivated mushroom.
Happy local eating,
Posted by Autumn Long | April 23, 2008 9:26 AM