Is It Really Over?

Noah 2018 Morels

by Brady Raymond

I keep reminding myself that things are cyclical, not necessarily circular but more likely some form of a distorted oval.  Yes, the seasons make their rounds but they do it differently from year to year.  Some seasons bucket loads of mushrooms are brought in by almost anyone that glances way of suitable habitat and yet other years you scratch by the best you can.  All of this is overlaid on a 3-D geography interacting with weather systems both worldly and cosmic.

Why are some year’s seasons stellar while others kind of, well, meh?  I like to think it is everything else in life, but it is likely that my own distractions shielded the mushrooms from my lustful gaze.  Maybe my brain wasn’t fully tuned into them this year, maybe I need to find new spots altogether, maybe the last Morel to have ever existed has been picked, put into a basket and taken home to be eaten by some newbie undeserving of such a tasty forest treat.  Oh, the horror if that were to be true.  I did, however, find enough this year to feed well upon, and I am thankful for all that nature has provided me, yet I still I want more, more from a season that seems to be breaking fast.

Morels Eagle Creek 2018

It’s not much to look at but, they are all mine so at least there is that.

 

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Morel Hunting In Washington

 

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Oh, the glory.

 

by Brady Raymond

What will be the outcome for the “Spring 2018 Washington Mushroom Season?”  Only the future knows.  However, I know that I’m finding Morels at various elevations.  I also know that I’m loving every second of it.  I worry a little that the weather is going to get too hot too quick and before we know it the season will be over.  I cast these thoughts aside though, and I focus on the task at hand, which is quite simple, “To find as many Morels as I can.”

So far, the pickings have been a little slim for me, but what I have found has been thoroughly enjoyed.  I’ve seen a few other folks while out and only one looked to have a bag with very much in it, so I don’t think I’m doing too bad.  The two times I have been out this season We’ve collected enough to feed three for both breakfast and dinner.  These are meager pickings comparatively speaking but, one has to be thankful for anything Mother Nature is willing to offer up.

 

2018 Morel Breakfast

Even the simplest of meals is awesome cooked over campfire coals, especially breakfast.

 

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Winter Into Spring

 

Hyphloma?

If you want to learn about mushrooms gather round for Brian’s table tours at PSMS field trips.

by Brady Raymond

Morels are here, and that means it’s time to gear up and head out.  I have reports of landscape Morels being found in the Puget Sound lowlands and as warmer weather moves in we can start moving up into the mountains.  Landscape Morels are good but mountain Morels are better and probably cleaner too.  Make sure if you find landscape Morels to be discerning when picking them for the table.  Many urban landscapes are fouled with pesticides and other harmful contaminants, caution is urged when collecting near human populations.  If you are lucky enough to spot some locale landscape Morels count it as a good omen for the rest of the season.

Spring also means the beginning of the 2018 PSMS field trip season.  If you’ve been on field trips in the past you probably already know that it is one of the best ways to learn about mushrooms and if you haven’t been on a field trip let me reiterate, it is one of the best ways to learn about mushrooms.  There is no substitute for getting out in the woods and finding mushrooms first hand, taking in all of the peripheral clues and of course having access to one of PSMS’s most valuable resources, Brian Luther.

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Memorial Day Weekend

 

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When you find a bunch of Morels in a small area make sure to mark it on your GPS.  Erin and I have some reliable patches that seem to produce each year.

 

by Brady Raymond

How do you thank those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country?  As folks barbecued with friends and family this past weekend or in my case mushroom hunted, I hope we all took a moment to reflect on the freedoms we have to do these things and the lives that were lost to protect those freedoms.  Since I can’t thank those who were lost in the line of duty I would like to thank those who are currently serving and those who have served in the past.  Thank you, your service does not go unnoticed by this author.

For the last five years, Erin and I have taken part in what may be the premier mushrooming foray in the Pacific Northwest, maybe even the country.  As we arrived at our destination, thoughts of the Morel season coming to a close were on our minds.  Things had been dry over the last week and as we all know “dry” is the enemy of fungi.  What would we find this weekend?  Would we find anything at all?

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Morels with Scallops and Asparagus

 

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Thyme flowers are a great addition if you have them in your herb garden

 

by Erin Raymond

I recently saw a post by Langdon Cook on Instagram of a meal with morels and scallops that looked amazing.  I had never had morels with scallops, but decided I needed to try it immediately.  Fortunately, a couple days after I decided this, Brady and I found a couple pounds of morels.  I looked at a number of different recipes online and combined them into the recipe below.  It was delicious!  Thanks for the inspiration Langdon!

Begin by roasting the asparagus in the oven with a bit of olive oil and cook wild rice pilaf.  Melt butter in a pan and sautee the morels and shallots until the mushrooms are cooked through.  Turn the heat up to medium and add the scallops, turning once.  Add some cream when flipping the scallops.  Once the scallops are done, serve over wild rice pilaf and top with fresh thyme and asparagus.

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It’s Happening

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Erin took this picture with her phone.  It’s incredible what phones can do these days, maybe some day genetic testing in the field will be possible.

by Brady Raymond

  • 5-19-17 – 5-20-17
  • 70 degrees, sunny
  • 1800-4200ft.

Things are heating up and Morels are popping.  Erin, our daughter, the dog and I headed out for an overnight mushrooming mini adventure and we were not disappointed.  Over the two days we spent looking, we gathered around 120 Morels totaling 2lbs almost exactly, not bad for naturals considering we had a small child and a dog who is more of a trail dog than a hunting companion.

On Friday we hit up a trail in one of our spots and within a minute or two I had already picked my first Morel.  It didn’t take long to find the next few either.  I hopped off the trail expecting to find Morels everywhere but to my surprise, I found zilch.  There were a few spots of snow in the shade but for the most part, it was gone.  I’m assuming the trail itself received more sunlight thus was a bit warmer than the surrounding woods.  We were at 4000ft. and up here it was still getting quite cold at night.

We continued down the trail happily picking Morels along its edges for a quarter mile or so.  As the trail gained in elevation the mushrooms were fewer and further apart.  After a hundred yards of finding nothing, we turned around.  We wondered how many we would spot on the way back and were greeted by a number of these shifty fungi we had somehow missed.  It doesn’t take much for a Morel to be obscured from sight, it only takes a leaf or branch to hide it from you.  Erin spotted a number of them that I had walked right by as she walked behind me, no doubt due in part to the discrepancy of height between the two of us.

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More Morels

Morel 2 5-13-17

by Brady Raymond

  • 5-13-17
  • 50 degrees, partial sun to drizzle-light rain
  • 1800-3100ft.

I have a problem, I’m addicted to Morels.  Erin and I have put some serious miles down the last two weekends, driving up and down mountain passes and zig zagging our way through forest service roads.  The urge is unbearable, one that is only quelled slightly by the meager yields we have so far harvested.  Twenty-one Morels this weekend, that brings our total for the season of twenty-eight.

“Brady” I said to myself “it’s not a competition, relax, enjoy the hunt.”  But, it is a competition and I’m at twenty-eight.  Lots of people have found more than me, and they laugh at my season total.  These folks have accumulated more weight in spores than I have in the spore bearer.  There is a good chance though that the average person among me has found none and I relish in this fact.

Mushroom hunting isn’t really a competition but anyone who’s done it knows how guarded and secretive you get when questioned about the subject.  I imagine that this traces back to ancient times, to protect what is yours and when you poses so few things it would seem this behavior may be stronger especially when regarding something so tantamount to survival as a food source.

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The Real Deal

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Just fry them up already!

by Brady Raymond

  • 5-7-17
  • 55 degrees
  • 1800-4000ft.

They’re here, they’re here!  I have officially found my first Morel of the season, seven to be more precise and they were as delicious as I had remembered.  I can still taste their delectable flavor and can rest easy in knowing that the essence of the Morel now resides in my body, helping to build the future me.  We have bonded, man and fungus.  Wait, I’m not sure if that sounds right but it is essentially true, this is a fungal infection I hope sticks around for a while.

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False Hope

Verpa bohemica

A False Morel, Verpa bohemica often time fruit just before Morels do

by Brady Raymond

Trip Info

  • 4-29-17
  • 55 degrees
  • 1800-2800ft.

My expectations weren’t too high setting out this last Saturday, but I had an inkling that fungi flourished on the Eastern slope of the Cascades.  Many of my friends and family were finding Morels back in Southern Michigan and that got the bug in me enough to head out and poke around a few of our regular spots.  We decided to gauge what conditions were like at 1800-2800ft. east of the pass.  The temperature still seemed a bit cool but moisture levels seemed good.

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Remember Me?

Ghost Morel

Ghost Morels

Remember me?  I just wanted to let you know, I’ll be back before you know it.

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Insert angelic choir swell, maybe something in Major 8 Major

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It’s all mine.

I thought, to get folks into the spirit of the hunt that I’d link up a few articles about Morels from last spring.

‘Tis The Season

4000ft. Morels

The Last Morel(s) Standing pt.1

The Last Morel(s) Standing pt.2

Verpa

Fooled ya!  Don’t fall for the Verpa trap, unless of course that’s your thing.