Stalking the elusive wild morel mushroom happens in the springtime here in the Southwest, usually in a thick of old cottonwoods, where they like to grow in the newly dead roots of the trees along the Pine River. Donna K. Hewett. This story is sponsored by Pops Truck and RV Center and Boons Family Thai Barbecue
If you want to enjoy choice morel mushrooms you'll need to learn to find them in the wild, because they're as difficult to cultivate as they are to find. That's what makes morels one of the most sought after mushroom varieties in the world. So a big deal to look for and find them. In Bay field Colorado prime morel season starts in March and extends into May. You're watching the Local News Network. Brought to you by Pop's truck and RV center and Boone's family type barbecue. I'm Wendy Graham settle. For many morels are the edible wild mushroom. They have their share of nicknames including molly moocher and henry chickens but really no name is necessary since mushroom means morel. They're that good to eat. In Bay field expert mushroom forager Chris Richie led a small foray beneath Cottonwood trees along the pine river.
So this is what we're looking for today. These are the morchella species right? Morchellas are the true morels. So I need you guys to kind of get this visual in your head because we're going to be scanning the ground as we walk slowly left and right and this is what we're looking for. This sort of a honeycomb type top with the whitest stock. They could be quite variable in color. From black to brown, to pink, to gray, to yellow. Now here in the cotton woods we're mainly looking for yellows.
Yellow morels love Cottonwood trees because they have a lot of turnover in the branch and root systems. They like to grow on the trees newly dead roots.
When two compatible spores meet up they form mycelium and that mycelium starts to grow through the medium in this case a log. So mycelium is growing through the log, producing enzymes to digest the cellulose and lignin. And once that mass of mycelium gets large enough and has consumed enough wood and has enough energy and power it pushes out mushrooms to reproduce. And so the mushroom is just the fruit of the organism. It's just the fruiting body.
The sponsor of the foray Jamie Matthews founded the giving garden in Durango 10 years ago.
I am what's called a parent leader at the Lata family center. And it's a network of mostly women who support local families in need. And one of the emphasis that I put on for myself and my family is what can we eat here in our local food system to support, you know calorie equity within our own community. And so I started a community led garden about 10 years ago.
What's it called?
It's called the giving garden. It's supported by summit church.
Normal mushroom hunting season is in fall. The San Juan mountains is one of the premier hunting locations for Porcini and chanterelle mushrooms in the world. The elusive spring morel mushrooms however, that grow at lower elevations in some years can't be found
Morel season is, is difficult here in the Southwest because we rarely get spring rain. So on a year like this where we get basically no rain after March it's even shorter. And so those four weeks of May can turn into a week or two or none. You know I've only found one Morel this year and it was in an irrigated lawn.
Along with mushroom foraging Richie offers a guide service for bass fishing. For more information go to fish and fungi.com. Thanks for watching this edition of the local news network. I'm Wendy Graham settle.