Column: Hunting for morels
Commentary by Noah Herron
Morel season is here and they will be popping up now through the end of May. Although there are many thoughts on the how good this season will be; the general consensus is that with this very cold winter and rainy spring we are due to have one of the best morel season ever. Like a good magician, good morel hunters will never tell you their secret location but I can offer advice on when and where to start.
When to Hunt?
Morel season is generally from mid-April to mid-May in Central Indiana. When soil temperatures reach 50-55 degrees morels will start growing. You can also keep an eye on lilac bushes. When they are just ready to bloom, some of the morels will be getting ready to harvest. Some people also use the first dandelions popping up as a sign for morels being ready to harvest.
Where to Hunt?
Some of the best places to look include forest floors with elm trees, especially dead elms. The very best places to look are locations with several large trees have been blown down or toppled from old age. These events open the forest floor to sunlight. And in the case of blown down trees, the earth is often disturbed. This frequently stimulates the growth of mushrooms.
Morel hunting is like finding free money on the ground. Average pricing on morels is around $35 per pound. If you find more than you can eat, you can give them to friends or sell to strangers. Also if you stumble upon a mother lode of morels always remember to leave a few behind to help stimulate future mushrooms to grow. That way you can come back to more.
Lastly, always be 100 percent certain of what you are eating. If it’s your first time, take someone that is experienced and knows which mushrooms are edible and which ones are not. Always soak your mushrooms in salt water for 24 hours to remove any possible bugs. Good luck!
Noah Herron is owner of Urban Farmer Garden Center, 4105 W. Ind. 32, Westfield. To contact Herron, call 600-2807 or visit www.ufseeds.com.