WHEN TO LOOK
This can totally depend on the type of spring you are having and varies geographically. Once the first dandelions start to spread and the lilacs are in bloom you have about a three week window to start foraging. Keep in mind the crop is moving up from the South so as of April 27th southern Minnesota has started picking.
WHERE TO LOOK
First off most hunters guard their hunting spots with their lives. Any serious hunter would never even hint at their hunting locations. (real talk, my uncle Pete claims to have a cave somewhere on his corn field where he collects several pounds each year, have I ever seen this cave? Hell no. A corn field with a Cave?)
Second off, if you find a good score chances are the mushrooms will return to that same spot each year, veteran foragers will say to collect your shrooms in a mesh bag or basket to allow these spores to drop and spread as you forage.
Friends will likely find one or two randoms in their backyard, sure. But the best places to look are wild areas, creek or river banks but not areas that have been flooded. Morels have a symbiotic relationship with trees and in many areas that relationship seems to be the strongest with dead Elms. This is Morel hunter nerd for: look for dead Elms and a Morel or two should be near by.
This is about as much as we can say about the subject before we get angry letters from our husband + the morel hunting community. Do you really need any more excuses to get out and go for a hike (adorable basket in hand)?
Picking wild mushrooms requires a good deal of caution, because even a small nibble of the wrong mushroom can be lethal. Check local restrictions on foraging in public parks and wild areas.
LET'S TALK ABOUT TICKS
Foraging season for the above happens to also be the beginning of Tick season. If you have an irrational fear of Ticks (maybe like us) we suggest the following.
- Wear tall rubber boots with knee high socks.
- Wear tight thicker pants/leggings to prevent the critters from crawling up your legs. The little devils usually live on the forest floor and make their way up via a pant leg.
- Dryer sheets, yes toss a few dryer sheets into your boots.
- Soothe irrational undiscovered tick fears by taking a hot warm bath and washing your hair when you get home. (really can't most irrational fears be soothed by a little bath salt and hot water?)