Oh, the Fir-r-rst Morel…

The First Morel, the Angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay…

Oh, dear. I’m sorry about that. But it just makes a person sing, to come on the first wrinkly morels of the season. I was down by the riverbank today, and turned up a small catch. Others were angling for steelhead not far away. That is its own noble activity, but my eyes were searching the litter under the cottonwoods, for this:

Morchella sp.

Truly now, the season has moved on. The Groundhog’s 6 weeks are about up.

I’m not sure how the morel knows this, but it is almost always Easter week when I turn up the first morels. Being that Easter is a Moveable [sic] Feast, this seems impossible. But the morel has a pretty good record.

(Shhh. Don’t tell anybody.)

Published in: Uncategorized on April 6, 2007 at 8:20 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. now, that’s strange…Easter week, I mean…does that mean they show up when Easter is March 22nd? Here, they show up, when they show up, which has only been two years I know of, in our front yard, when the apple trees bloom, which is surely not now! Takes a few more weeks…I don’t eat them, but I have friends who go crazy when they do show up. What I don’t get is that they don’t come every year, at least not here…In fact, they haven’t come here in several years. I wondered if it was because, last time, spinners were here of a Tuesday, and they saw a couple, and searched the yard over, coming up with two baskets full, picked every last one. Do you need to leave some to make more the next year? One of my shortcomings is that I find no pleasure in mushrooms of any kind. In fact, the taste makes me gag, and the consistency in my mouth is not fun: feels like I’m chewing my tongue or something. Nice to know I’m not perfect!

  2. Perfection does not come from culinary preferences (or dispreferences)! Chewing your tongue… eeew.

    As in Vermont, there are years when the morels simply do not put in an appearance here. Last year was one. My favorite gathering ground had flooded the winter before, and I wondered whether that was the reason. But I was only speculating. As the mushroom itself is just the fruiting body of an organism that lives underground, I doubt leaving “seed” can affect the following year’s crop. As to early Easter dates, I haven’t actually kept records. But it’s a handy reminder to me to hit the riverbank. I usually start peeking around a couple weeks before Easter, but seldom find anything there until it’s Time. Of course, there are high elevation locations where the morels come later, and in Montana, where I visit with my cousin, we pick morels in June. But on this one stretch of riverbank, the morels and Easter are in common.

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