In continuation of my mushroom series and in honor of morel mushroom season, at least in the midwest, I'm posting my latest painting, "Waiting to Be Found." Hunting (or in chef speak, foraging) for morels was a big part of my childhood. As if it wasn't fun enough to traipse through the woods, looking for morels just added a whole other level of excitement. With walking sticks in hand, we would clear the May apples with hopes to find these treasures hidden on the forest floor. Of course, if I found one I would have to screech the announcement at the top of my lungs to my mom. Until, I quickly learned, that if there were others out there looking you had just made the big proclamation as to where they could be found. Patches where morels are hidden are a closely guarded secret in the mushroom hunting world!
Sometimes you would hit the mother lode because they often grow in clusters! I quickly learned from my mom and grandfather the delicate art of pinching them at the base to pick them and not pulling them up from the roots. The latter supposedly prevented them from growing again. But I never quite got that because I thought they were propagated by spores. If any one knows the scoop on this please feel free to comment.
I remember my grandfather going to Michigan to hunt and coming back with his station wagon, packed to gills with styrofoam coolers full of them which he sold to the local market. Today they retail for over $32.00 per pound!
My mom and dad own wooded property where my mom still goes out every May. Shouting is aloud now since no one else is supposed to be in there because there are "No Trespassing" signs posted all over. So if my mom sees the May apples trampled, you better watch out, she carries a big walking stick!