Friday, May 15, 2009

The Beginning of Redbud to the end of Dogwood

This is another post about morels. I figure you are not sick of them because they are hard to find and you probably have not found any yet. According to the Morel Progression Sighting Map, they are still out there in the wild, taunting you because you have, as your mother says, "doll's eyes" and couldn't find a mushroom in the woods if it hit you. With a stick. Nevertheless, I, I mean "you," are determined to keep trying and any tips will help.

Read this very cool article in the Wall Street Journal about how to find morels. Photo by Ed Baker, WSJ.

I find this quote interesting: "Garrett Todd, a mushroom forager in Michigan, argues that the periphery of human vision can’t distinguish morels. Instead, foragers have to use their Fovea, the tiny area of the eye responsible for the sharpest vision." Maybe this is why you can't find mushrooms. Maybe you lack a Fovea. Maybe you misplaced your Fovea but you can't go looking for it because it takes a Fovea to find a Fovea. Kind of like never finding that contact lens that you dropped in the carpet. It had your Fovea in it.

Here are some other tips that will likely to prove useless to those of you lacking in Fovea:
  • Tom Rosenbauer, Marketing Director of Orvis Rod and Tackle...says fast and furious is the key to his success. “I can go for a mile before finding them,” he says. Morels tend to grow in bunches with large barrens between them. Rosenbauer also walks uphill, usually uncovering them between 900-1300 feet in elevation.

  • Flowers are the great indicator for morel season. In the Mid-Atlantic and southern states, foragers suggest hunting from when the redbud appears until the dogwood drops its blossoms. In New England, Lepage begins his season for black morels when the trout lilies appear and for the yellow morels when the columbine blooms. These floral cues roughly translate to a season that stretches from early April and mid-May. [I find this very poetic.]

  • Despite the difficulties in locating morels, once a forager has found an area he can return to it year after year. “When they have a root they come back in the exact same space,” Rosenbauer says. [Then how come I can't find any mushrooms where the old man found one for me next to my parents' driveway?]

  • Morels usually grow near the base of trees and gatherers hold fierce allegiance to which trees they think morels prefer. Elm, ash, poplar, wild holly and hawthorn are all top producers [I have also heard that they are rife in old apple orchards].

Maybe the best advice is to take a mushroom hunter with you. That way, you won't get poisoned by picking the wrong thing- and you might actually find something."Finding them requires not only physical stamina, but nearly superhero eyesight as well. “I took a friend foraging for three hours. I found 150 and he found two,” Lepage says." Yeah, ok, rub it in that you have nerves of steel and the stamina of Superman and a Fovea. The rest of us normal people are just going to crawl around on the ground, blindly sniffing like a truffle pig.

A Haiku:

After the redbud,
Before falling dogwood blooms
grow the shy morels.

Where are the morels?
Hiding somewhere under trees
With my Fovea.

Once I went to the beach near Calvert Cliffs where supposedly there were tons of fossil shark's teeth. I wanted to find one very much. But I did not. Finally I spotted a park ranger and asked him the best place to find them. He looked down at his feet and found five. All at once. He gave them to me and said, "they are everywhere." And then I despised him. The end.



Yeon said...

I love the haiku!!

smoo said...

thank you. I was inspired. Your strawberry picture is cute and it reminds me that I need to get a cage.

Chelsea said...


Fovea is going to be my new favorite word.