Treasure hunt is on in the tristates

The treasure hunt is on! Mushroomers are thick as thieves scouting out their favorite fungi. And once a hunter finds the X that marks the spot, they TMre not revealing it. It would be easier to pry the information from a pirate.

Bill Fisher of Hannibal has searched high and low for mushrooms since he was a boy. He remembers going out with his grandpa near the Mississippi River at Saverton.

You get the fever, he told me.

So far, his search of the river bottoms has not born fruit, but the hunters who have headed for the hills and timber are having some luck. Fisher figures he has about four weeks left in the season to hit the mother lode. Even if he strikes gold, it would be hard to top his haul of morels from two years ago. He found about 20 pounds of mushrooms a day for 5 days straight. If you can believe it, fresh morels can sell for around $60 a pound though the prices variations are huge. Fisher brought in a good price when he donated 3 pounds of mushrooms at a charity auction recently, but otherwise, he TMs not in the market to sell, he TMs in the market to eat.

I can TMt get enough of them, he said. There TMs also the pleasure of the hunt itself. I like getting out in the woods and seeing spring start.

Fisher and his cousin have been tracking data from their spring outings for 15 years. He calls April 15 the start of mushroom season. That can vary with the weather of course, but that TMs the average date. Mushrooms can be kind of finicky. The spores grow best when it TMs wet, but not too wet. They like warm days (about 70 degrees) but they also prefer warm nights too. You can find a lot of information on the web. There are even message boards for individual states.

You can also check the web for morel recipes . Fisher likes his dipped in egg, dredged in cracker crumbs and deep fried. I go for egg, flour and butter myself. Whatever your taste, morel or beefsteak, deep fried or grilled, we wish you happy hunting this spring.

Take care ~Sarah