Tuesday, March 09, 2010
The morel reports are coming in...
Unfortunately they are from people finding them out in California and the Pacific Northwest. If you are ever in the need to track finds across the country, check out the mushroom reports and the brand new 2010 morel progress map over at Chris Matherly's Morel Mushroom Hunting Club. You have to pay to become a member and get access to all of the resources, but Chris is kind enough to keep his report and progression maps free and open to the mushroom hunting public.
I always enjoy following the progression of the season through these online maps. Michael Kuo used to have this feature on MushroomExpert.com before the reports coming in became too overwhelming despite numerous volunteers who helped organize the chaos. I mention MushroomExpert because it is another wonderful online mushroom resource that is rich with well-written, practical information (and yes the science stuff is there too for you true mycophiles). If you get a chance and have the means, you can donate a little to show your appreciation.
Getting back to the the progression maps, I was very glad that this gauntlet was picked up by Chris. Next time you send him a report be sure to thank him for his tireless efforts to track one of the most elusive and prized the wild edibles. It is very useful information if you are like me and look to the past to hopefully uncover trends that might help me better predict when to hit the woods and beat the others to those well known and well walked public spots.
If you take a look at the 2010 map, morel finds are slowly moving east. It looks like the first two weeks of March have brought them as far west as Idaho in the north and Arizona in the south. But don't let all those dots west of the Rockies distract you. The real show will begin when dots start popping up in the southern states like Oklahoma, Alabama and Georgia. I expect to see a dot in either Texas or Tennessee any day now, as reports usually show up by the end of the second week of March, but this was an unusually cold and snowy winter for the south as well. So, perhaps this is a sign that the season is off to a slow start.
Once this progression does start north, the season is on. In my own experience watching and tracking progress maps each season, it seems that reports progress north by nearly 5 degrees of latitude a week. That's about 350 miles, so keep an eye to the south and, if you are like me in Mid-MO, when you see reports of finds in Cape Girardeau and Branson, be sure to call in sick the following week. At least, if you are like me and love to go out and hunt them just to see them even if they are barely out of their primordia state and a mere 1/4 inch tall. If you are truly obsessive like some morel hunters I know, that is a perfect time to turn in your resignation notice at work, because in two weeks, weather cooperating, morels will be just start to be prime for easier spotting and eating.