These are morel mushrooms.
They are a special culinary delicacy, going for as much as $50 per pound fresh. As a child, my family and I used to hunt for these special woodland gems. Each family has it’s own secret tricks. In an old apple orchard. In an elm stand, a cedar grove. My grandfather insists that you must place the mushrooms in an old paper sugar sack so they don’t sweat or break down.
The City of Irvine hosts the annual Mountain Mushroom Festival each spring. I went with my good friends, David and Kathryn, and met up with some of their friends. We walked through the booths and looked for goodies.
We discovered the typical fair concession food, including corn dogs, cheese steak sandwiches, and lemonade. And some locally ground grits and cornmeal…. We saw some interestingly dressed people. And a llama. Emu eggs. Random junk sold as treasure.
The Mushroom Festival also featured an Agate Hunt/Gem & Mineral Show. (For those who don’t know what agates are, check out this link.) Aren’t they just lovely?
It was a wonderful little weekend trip. It was great to spend time with some awesome people celebrating an equally awesome fungi. (Recipes using morels to follow later this week).
*The first and fourth photos taken by Kathryn. The rest by me.
Robert Z said:
NICE!! I cant wait to hear you’re recipes! I cannot wait for morel season next year!
Welcome Company with Danielle said:
My husband is from Indiana and he has a lot of morel hunting and cooking stories. I am looking forward to your recipes.
Thank you. A girl I work with said she found 2 lbs each time she went out. I don’t know how she was so lucky. I have only found a few each time I have gone.
David and I ate ourselves sick on that huge bag of mushrooms . But the taste was worth it! We had a blast at the festival with you!!
🙂 I had a great time too!
Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide said:
What a cool event. Your posts are making me crave mushrooms.
It was pretty fun. I love all these little festivals. Small towns are fun.
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Thanks for the mention. I looked at your picture but I am not sure if it is a true morel. It looks a bit pale. It is beautiful regardless.