Saturday, April 28, 2012

The "morel" of the story; the mushrooms are gone

Last year's "dry-land fish"
In my hometown of Irvine, we celebrate the mushroom hunting season, a rite of spring for many here in the foothills of Kentucky, by throwing a big ol’ festival dedicated to morels. 
We call it the Mountain Mushroom Festival, and festivities include a “Fungus 5K,” a parade, lots of entertainment, vendors, a car show, an antique tractor show, a rock and mineral show…and much more. 

One of the main attractions is the mushroom market where local morel hunters can bring in their finds and sell them.  A prize is also awarded for the biggest morel. 

When I stopped by the market this afternoon, only one morel had been brought in, and it was partly dried up.  

“Dry-land fish,” as some of us call them, are typically springing up by the dozens out in the woods this time of year. 

However, spring came very early this year, then April turned dry.

Dry is not the best condition for growing “the fungus among us.”     
This is the 22nd year for the festival, but it’s the first one I can recall that there were few or no morels to sell at the market.  

My hubby and I went hunting for them twice, and he found one small ‘shroom.  I found mushrooms, but not morels.  I wasn’t sure if they were edible or not. 

I’m ready for next year, though.  Today I bought a field guide to identify lots of varieties of edible wild mushrooms, and I bought a bumper sticker that says, “Stay out of my morel patch.” 

I’m just hoping that next year, I’ll have a morel patch.

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