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Archive for Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Open season on mushrooms

Hunters out to bag spring delicacy report abundance of morels this year

Small gray morels were found in early April, as temperatures in the 50s marked the start of the season. As the weather warms the mushrooms get bigger and take on a brown color; morels are now measuring 5 to 7 inches.

Small gray morels were found in early April, as temperatures in the 50s marked the start of the season. As the weather warms the mushrooms get bigger and take on a brown color; morels are now measuring 5 to 7 inches.

April 29, 2008

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Hunting morels

Local morel aficionados describe the hunt for the mushrooms. Enlarge video

Joe Thomas and his son Joseph, from St. Joseph, Mo., show off the morels they collected in an hour and a half along the Kansas River northeast of Lawrence. The Thomases spent Sunday morning hunting in an area where Joe learned from a relative how to find the tasty treat.

Joe Thomas and his son Joseph, from St. Joseph, Mo., show off the morels they collected in an hour and a half along the Kansas River northeast of Lawrence. The Thomases spent Sunday morning hunting in an area where Joe learned from a relative how to find the tasty treat.

Local morel hunters are reporting a bumper crop of the highly coveted mushrooms.

"This promises to be probably one of the best morel seasons we've had in a number of years," said Ron Meyers, a longtime morel hunter who scooped up 150 during a recent outing.

Hunters are scrambling to the woods with the fervor of a gold rush these days where moisture-rich weather and agreeable temperatures have meant they can strike it rich in fungus.

And hungry buyers are gobbling up all they can find from some local sellers.

John Pendleton, of Pendleton's Country Market, 1446 E. 1850 Road, said reports of morels going to $80 per pound in Kansas City spurred a rush on the market's $25 per pound stock last weekend. By shortly after noon Saturday, the morels were sold out. The market was expecting more in Monday afternoon.

"People who like them really, really like them," Pendleton said.

The beloved mushrooms can be found in woody areas. Seasoned hunters say the banks of the Kaw and the Wakarusa rivers are good, but few will reveal exactly where they go.

Bob Bruce, Lawrence resident and president of the Kaw Valley Mycological Society, said he's been having luck along the Kaw.

"I've been searching there for two weeks, and I've been finding them every time I go," he said.

Bruce suggested searching near the water and moving up the slope. At this point - roughly midway through the season - hunters may have more luck on the tops of hills, he said.

Once gathered, there are innumerable ways to enjoy morels.

"They're very delicious," hunter Sherry Kay said. "They don't taste like mushrooms. They taste like morels."

There are recipes for morel soup, morel sauces and morel tarts. The relatively high-fat, and beloved, dish of fried morels is also popular. The recipe is relatively simple: roll the mushrooms in egg and flour, then fry.

"They're scrumptiously good that way," Meyers said. "They're also scrumptiously unhealthy that way."

Comments

Ragingbear 6 years, 8 months ago

Badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger Mushroom Mushroom!

newsreader 6 years, 8 months ago

Something about eating fungus bothers me... Not a mushroom fan...

50YearResident 6 years, 8 months ago

They are not very big if you can put 14 or more in the palm of your hand. Maybe they could have grown bigger if they were left a few days.

Celeste Plitz 6 years, 8 months ago

My aunt and uncle go morel hunting every year...I got to go with them once when I was in Lawrence still. It was great fun! And oh so tasty...the whole family gets in on it, they even printed commemorative tshirts a couple of years. Wish I was there now, hunting fungi. sigh

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 years, 8 months ago

autie (Anonymous) says:When I was fishing Saturday, ran into some friends camping. There son had gone on the hunt and was a little too successful..so they brought me a grocery sack full..as I sat and watched my wife reel in crappie..Not a bad day at all. Cajun fried fish, stuffed morels, potatos and onions with diced jalapenos..cold beer. roger that.What's your recipe for stuffed morels?

riverdrifter 6 years, 8 months ago

Those in the hand are what we call 'little grays'. Cooler weather morels. I found a few today. Not near enough...The first warm muggy day that brings out a tornado watch will bring out the 'yellow giants' a day later. I'd tell you where my giant patches are but then...50year, I've found little morels and marked them and come back a day or even two later and they don't change at all. They seem be be just as they come up. There's no 'growing' near as I can tell. This evening we did put out a brace of migrating woodcock that clattered straight up then out over the highest treetops. They came up at my feet and I about had a heart attack. Then we found a nightjar that would fly 5 yards and set down again. And again. It's good to know they're back and that 'the woods is alive'. Gotta go now - a determined tick is crawling up my leg.

lil_frogy 6 years, 8 months ago

if u wanted to sell these, WHERE and WHO would u sell them @?

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