CROSS PLAINS (WKOW) – Morel mushrooms grow across the Midwest and right now, the season is in full swing.
Rasma Marks is heading out on her fourth hunt this year. She’s been looking for these mushrooms since she was a child growing up in Latvia.
And she’s still passionate about the special fungus, “My husband likes to drive a 4-wheeler and I said ‘you cannot do this in the spring, you’re gonna kill all my mushrooms!'”
She lives on a 6-acre piece of land that used to be home to an apple orchard. Morel mushrooms thrive underneath apple trees. They also typically grow under ash and elm trees, especially if they’re dead.
Before Marks heads out, she rolls up her socks over her pants and uses tick spray to keep away bugs.
She says you should squat down and look in the brush. Mushrooms in the shade are darker than ones that get sunshine.
As temps warm up, look on the north side of trees, as morels grow in these areas later in the season since it is cooler in the shadow of the tree.
Mushroom season began around late April this year; they start popping up when overnight lows are in the 40s and daytime highs are in the 60s.
Once you find one, you’ll likely find more around the same area. Marks excitedly explains, “You just can’t stop. You can’t leave mushrooms behind, you have to pick them up because they’ll go bad later.”
But don’t pull them out, cut them at the base so they grow back.
The search can be quite lucrative, if you use Marks’ tips and have a little luck. Morel mushrooms sell for up to $40 a pound!
But Marks isn’t in it for the money, “Oh no, I eat them, why would I want to sell them?”
If you plan on eating them, clean and cook them soon after picking so they don’t rot, but cut them in half first to check for bugs.
Marks says you can boil and sprinkle with salt, or you can put them in an omelette or Shepard’s Pie or really whatever tastes good with mushrooms!