A sure sign of spring is nearly here: morels! As sunshine and April rains wake up the forests, the annual search for the elusive mushrooms is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. You can find them from late April to early June, and – according to Michigan State University Extension – they’re believed to grow in every Michigan county.
Most Michiganders will tell you that the location of a good morel patch is a matter of utmost secrecy. This makes mushroom hunting a perfect chance to practice the 6-foot-minimum social distancing that is such a critical step in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Mushroom hunters should plan to search locally, too, and only with people who live in their household.
To find morels, target hilly areas with plenty of hardwood trees like maple, beech and oak, checking for burn scars where a wildfire or prescribed burn has occurred. Pick a warm day after a rain to start your hunt, when mushrooms are most likely to have bloomed. When heading to the woods, take a mesh bag for carrying your prizes, a knife (always cut, never pull morels) and a map of your hunting area.
Learn how to find morels, tell a false one from a real one, prepare them, and boost your odds of success – with a map showing sites of last year’s wildfires and prescribed burns – at Michigan.gov/MiMorels.