Friday, April 25, 2014

Morels and Mayapples

Winter seemed to last forever this year. Warmer temperatures, longer day lengths, the success of my kale and cilantro seedlings, the morels in my yard all herald spring days that will slowly morph into the languid summer days of late May and June.

I've found a lot of the red morels this year, all coming up in concentric circles around the typical bottomland species, but I won't eat the red morels. Folks in Missouri swear that they're edible, but when cooked, they emit a chemical that is also used in the manufacture of rocket fuel. Red morels sure are pretty, but tomorrow morning my fancy town Farmer's Market will surely harbor small pints of yellow morels for an exorbitant price. I do think most of the value of a morel, despite what big city folks like to think, rests in the discovery hike, poking around elm-ash-maple woods on early April days. I did tend to laugh when I lived in Brooklyn and saw morels and Appalachian-sourced ramps on the menu available for the price of a small car.

2 comments:

Cynthia said...

how do I identify an ash or maple before the leaves are out? I want morels too!

Allison Vaughn said...

I'm not an expert morel finder, but I have found that searching through moist bottomlands you'll probably find a good assortment of the right kinds of trees and growing conditions. I've heard that a lot of folks hit the Missouri River bottoms, those areas that have been reclaimed since the 93 floods, all trashy vegetation and dog hair stands of maples, have tons of morels. I would dig up photos of the barks, but more importantly I would hit the lower areas of your local woods.