The end of April through the beginning of June is Morel Mushroom hunting season.
May is peak season. Probably your best chance at finding some.
Arron and Jill Grenchik are licensed mushroom foragers from Traverse City through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Morels are so special because they’re elusive. It’s an adult treasure hunt and a kid treasure hunt,” said Jill Grenchik.
“There are known about 65 different species of the Marcelo. You’re going to predominantly come across, say, a half dozen to 12 if you keep your eyes open throughout Michigan,” explained Arron Grenchik. “Lift your eyes up a little bit and scan out, you do want to look down, but at the same time, you want to be relaxed, and you want to kind of look out, say, you know, 15, 20, 30 feet just do scans.”
When we went hunting with the Grenchik’s we were lucky to find a blonde moral. They’re usually found by an old apple tree or in a mature forest.
“Looking for the tree association. That’s key,” said Jill Grenchik.
“They have a relationship with the trees that they grow near. So for that reason, they’re hard to cultivate,” added Arron Grenchik.
Arron Grenchik says finding morel mushrooms used to be easier.
“Ten, 15, 20 years ago, you could go from ash tree to ash tree, and you’d have decent success. You know, 70, 80% of those trees would have a ring of mushrooms around them. But ever since those trees died, that’s not the case anymore,” explained Arron Grenchik.
We also found a brown morel in their family’s yard next to a forsythia tree.
Grenchik’s say the best way to tell if it is a real morel is by cutting the mushroom in half. If the cap is attached to the base and hollow inside, it is safe.
But beware of false morels if you go out hunting.
“There’s one called purple bohemia that’s stereotypical false morels. It looks so similar, especially when it’s younger, and the way the cap is attached to the false morels like an umbrella. It’s really at the very top,” said Arron Grenchik. “When you cut the false morale in half, it has what looks like cotton on the inside.”
If you find some morels, the Grenchik’s favorite way to prepare them is to fry the morels in a pan with butter. Sometimes they add heavy cream, brandy, salt, pepper and thyme.
Click here for more morel mushroom hunting tips and a guide to identifying which mushrooms are safe to eat.