Wet weather brings boom for morel harvest

Local News

GEORGETOWN, Ill. (WCIA) — While farmers are having problems getting out into the fields, the wet weather means it’s prime season for mushroom hunters. 

Every spring, they comb forests in search of the elusive morel. These aren’t your average grocery store mushrooms. They’re harvested instead of farmed, and that makes them valuable. 

“This year is a very good year when it comes to morels.” Ian Lewis is one of those hunters. This season’s rain has helped the mushrooms grow, and he said this season has been excellent because of it. 

Morels are often sought by chefs and restaurants, and can fetch a high price. 

“I’ve seen them all over the board,” said Lewis. “Anywhere from $25 to $65, $70 a pound.”

But he isn’t in it for the money. Lewis said he enjoys looking for them because of the thrill of it and he gets to be in nature. Plus, he has an important use for his harvest.

“My biggest thing is I like to try and give away mushrooms to family, friends, and people who can’t go out and mushroom like they used to be able to. People are selling them. But it’s not what it’s really about. It’s about giving more than getting.”

So far this season, Lewis has harvested 1,118 morels. That’s more than 46.3 pounds. He said his season best was 1,935 morels. 

Every mushroom hunter has their tricks on how to find morels. Lewis wouldn’t give all of his away, but he did say you can follow a few tips:

1. Look for Ash and Elm Trees.
2. Look for water.
3. Scope out the environment, and you’ll get a feel for it. 

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