The spring mushroom hunt, or not!

Spring is one of my favorite seasons as the winter doldrums give way to longer, warmer and sunnier days. The daytime temperatures are great for hiking, biking, and certainly gardening. And mushroom hunting? Well, not so much. It’s difficult for me to focus on all things fungal when I’ve discovered so many new tomato plant possibilities like Atomic Grape and Indigo Cherry Drops and there’s even pink celery you can grow. Spring mushroom hunting on the other hand usually entails long drives, hours of eye strain, and often an empty basket. Typically, our main spring mushroom hunting objective is finding the very elusive Morel mushroom, or what I have come to call the Moron mushroom. Driving all day, searching all day, hiking for miles with eyes scanning the ground, and finding bupkis, squat, zero, nil, nada, zilch, diddly, zip, and the list goes on.

Now if that doesn’t sound moronic I don’t know what does. Mushrooms can make us engage in, shall I say unusual behavior. I realize a big part of the enjoyment of mushroom hunting is in the possibility of success and enjoyment of the hunt, however; you will generally do far better hunting for morels at Market of Choice or the Saturday Market with plenty of time left for gardening. Otherwise, if you insist on attempting to find morel mushrooms, let me recommend a mini vacation/foraging option. Drive down to Ashland, spend a few nights, take day trips heading east on Dead Indian Memorial Road toward Lake of the Woods and hike around. Southern Oregon is a much more reliable area for spring foraging. Or spend a few days in Bend or Sisters and hike around areas with Grand Fir trees or mixed conifer forests that include Grand Fir, Ponderosa Pine, and Hemlock.

As a bonus, you may also find the spring bolete (Boletusrex-veris),  which comes up in the same type of habitat. If you do find one of these hefty mushrooms, the good news is you only need a single large bolete to make a meal vs. a good number of morels. In any case, you can trick yourself into thinking you’re really on vacation and not just a frustrating morel hunt. Finding a morel is now just an incidental surprise you encountered while hiking and exploring the great outdoors. And fortunately, you just happened to have brought your collecting basket with you. How lucky was that? Believe me, it works out to be a far better story than taking a long day trip and coming back with, well, I won’t go through the entire litany of synonyms for nothing again. In any event, enjoy spring in Oregon whatever your passions may be.

A useful article to read on moron morel hunting in Oregon from Source Weekly in Bend.

Photo Credits
Atomic Grape tomato picture courtesy of Baker Creek,, Morel & Spring Bolete pictures taken by Sandy, who thinks I am a moron for not caring about Morel mushrooms.

Just my opinion, which may not be shared by many other CMS members

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