Has the state shutdown got you pining for a myco-fix? You’re not alone! Maybe this post from the American Mycoflora Project (and accompanying resource list) will help:
contributed by OMS Board Member Bryan Lewis
Springtime stirs joy in the hearts of Ohio foragers. Every new patch of green and each new tree bud and flower quickens the pulse with anticipation of bounties of wild edibles to come: nettles, ramps, and–especially–morel mushrooms. And extra-especially, the yellow morel.
Morels are delicious, but I think the main source of passion and desire among foragers is their elusiveness. They have a relatively short and somewhat variable fruiting season. Morels have a way of surprising us by changing fruiting locations and sometimes growing in unexpected places, but they generally appear in specific habitats (often in association with elm and tulip trees, among others). That means seasoned mushroom hunters find special secret “morel spots” often in state parks and other public forests. The location of these “morel spots” are guarded like nuclear launch codes.
Morel hunting can sometimes seem like a competition. How many “spots” do you know, how often can you get out and check them, how many mushrooms can you collect? I’ve encountered many other foragers in woods with promising habitat. Usually they sheepishly try to act like they’re just hiking (as they walk slowly, slightly hunched over, staring at the ground).
That brings me to this spring, where I’ve been hearing stories of a bumper morel crop and seeing online photos of people with laundry baskets filled with yellow morels. But I’ve been unable to get out as much as usual in Ohio this spring. The first time I made it to my favorite spot (late April) I spent hours searching and found…nothing. That is, nothing morel-wise, but I saw many mushrooms (fawn mushrooms, collybias, inkys, pheasant’s backs, gallerina, many cup mushrooms) and found plenty of ramps and many beautiful spring flowers (trillium, blue bells, marsh marigold, and many more).
More recently I went out on a rainy, abnormally chilly day in May and found…a stump.
And then…another stump…and another…
Yikes! Too late! The mushroom hunters have cleaned these woods out. Jeez, someone has even cut off all the pheasant’s backs! Boy, the competition is intense this year. As I turn and head back, I try to think of the nice ramps and nettles I’m finding, and of looking forward to the much more interesting summer and fall mushroom seasons, imagining forests full of chanterelles. But at this moment, slightly damp and cold in the middle of the woods, those thoughts seem like shallow consolation. It sure would be nice to find a big yellow morel. It’s easy to get caught up in the treasure hunting mind-set.
And then, just before I get to my car, like a beacon in the forest, I see one. A slightly-past-its-prime-but-still-beautiful yellow morel! I look around carefully, but it’s just this one. Not even any nearby stumps. I briefly think about taking it home and cooking up this one mushroom in a kind of “essence of morel” omelette. But I re-consider and leave it. Let those spores spread a little longer. Who knows, hopefully, a less-experienced forager will find this very mushroom, maybe even their first morel! That nice thought, after all the wet, cold, bounty-less stump finding, helps me remember something that can be easy to forget in the spring. Foraging is not a competition. It’s a state of mind and a way of life.
morel season! (photo credit: Walt Sturgeon)
Did you know that your Ohio Mushroom Society membership dues were due at the beginning of January, 2020? It’s not too late to renew, and in fact our treasurer has made it easy for anyone to join or renew at any time. Just mail a check to Jerry at the address below and he will take of care of everything. (Not a member yet? We’d love to have you join our ranks! You can find the new membership form here; click on the “Join” tab for more information about membership benefits.)
The OMS is a shoestring operation. All of us on the board are volunteers. All of the foray planning, the newsletter work, the treasury work, the website maintenance, the hospitality at our major forays–all of it is done by people like you who have a passion for mushrooms. Your dues pay only for the paper, printing and mailing of The Mushroom Log newsletter, wax bags, paper plates, name tags, speaker and expert mycologist fees and expenses, and other direct foray expenses. It is a remarkable bargain that we’ve been able to keep dues down to $15/year!
Most of our events for 2020 are currently listed on the Events page of this website. You may notice that there are no April events planned this year, and that is due to our efforts to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
There will be additions to the foray list in the coming months as some details are worked out and new opportunities arise. Check it out, save the dates on your calendar, and plan to join us!
-Debra Shankland, OMS Board
Mail your membership check to:
Ohio Mushroom Society
c/o Jerry Pepera
8915 Knotty Pine Ln.
Chardon, OH 44024
Stroll on over to the Events page to plan your participation in OMS mini and main forays this year!
If you’re in the Columbus area and haven’t yet seen “Fantastic Fungi” (or if you have seen it and just can’t get enough), here’s one more opportunity. ** This is not an OMS event **
Studio 35 Cinema & Drafthouse in Columbus OH will be screening Fantastic Fungi on Saturday March 14th at 1:30 pm. Guests are encouraged to arrive early for a film Introduction by Te’Lario Watkins II from Tiger Mushroom Farms and mingle with reps from Friends of Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks to learn about mushroom hikes & other events!
More information on the event can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/185439222840184/