Archive for Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Morel mushrooms plentiful after wet winter in northeast Kansas

The fungus is now among us staff photographer Richard Gwin talks about hunting morel mushrooms. This time of year the tasty morsels are thick in the area, he says, and many people are out looking.

April 26, 2011


Staff photographer Richard Gwin was first introduced to morel mushrooms in the 1970s, and now he's become an avid mushroom hunter.

Staff photographer Richard Gwin was first introduced to morel mushrooms in the 1970s, and now he's become an avid mushroom hunter.

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It’s spring, and that can mean just one thing: morel mushrooms.

This year’s harvest will be bountiful because of the large amount of moisture last winter.

My first checks of my usual hunting spots started April 1. Not much luck.

Warm weather didn’t help.

But rain on April 11 was just what was needed. And the mushrooms popped up.

I first was introduced to morel mushrooms when I came to Lawrence in the 1970s. Former Lawrence residents Kathy Hoggard and Chuck Bemis were frying up mushrooms and I was invited to dinner. Wow, what a tasty treat. A few years passed, and an assignment on morel hunters for the Journal-World got me hooked.

From my experience, the best places to look are:

  • Along a river. Many times, morels can be found near fallen cottonwood trees.
  • At the base of an old elm, particularly if it has dead limbs.
  • The west and south sides of hillsides. Look about a third of the way down, particularly under buckbrush.
  • In orchards and even along fence rows at the edge of pastures.
  • And even in residential areas.

One year I did a story and met a man from Overbrook who had a small terrier that could sniff them out. That certainly was fun to watch. I’ve come up empty sometimes, but my girlfriend, Candy Davis, has a knack for finding them — often at three times the rate I can.

If you’re heading out to hunt, don’t forget to dress appropriately for a trip outdoors:

  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants and sturdy shoes.
  • Spray for ticks and bugs. They’re not bad now, but as it warms up, they will be.
  • A hat also is a smart idea. And don’t forget to slather on the sunblock.

Once you’ve brought your bounty home, clean your crop and put the mushrooms in a plastic container with a tight lid.

Take a shower — and enjoy your mushrooms.


5thgeneration 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't know what kind of luck anyone else had.................. but I thought the crop was way down from previous years. I'd usually find 80-90 total, and this year I found less than 2 dozen.

Andrew Reeves 6 years, 11 months ago

Exactly, Py. How do these people even know how to operate a computer? (or any other form of technology). It's so liberal/womanly/pc to wear sunscreen. Not to mention why these people are even eating vegetables. I never knew hunting veggies was a man's game???

riverdrifter 6 years, 11 months ago

I didn't hunt today but found 91 I think Friday and 86 yesterday. Didn't hunt today, will go tomorrow. The best hunting for me, so far, in years. Py, right on. I slather on the deet and when done toss the clothes in the washer and shower off the ticks. I'll run a timber rattler out of my mushroom patch, no problem, but I do not mess with Lyme or RMSF. I always mention the rattlers because one place I hunt for morels is an old quarried area that is rife with them. I usually see at least one every year there. Most morel hunters will seldom if ever encounter one.

Dan Thalmann 6 years, 11 months ago

Saw a picture of a guy from NC Kansas who took home 33 pounds of morels today! What's the market rate per pound for morels these days?

countrygal07 6 years, 11 months ago

I have heard different rates per pound, however Pendletons out of Eudora is paying $ 20.00 per pound. Morels are plentiful this year.

riverdrifter 6 years, 11 months ago

I went over the 250 mark total today. One single mess harvested in a day near Baldwin was 280!

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