Where to Find Morels


Answer: where ever they come up out of the soil.

We’ve had this notion since we first discovered our “morel patch” early after moving here in 1999, that this was THE place to go to find these delicious if elusive fungi.

We usually find them a day or two either side of April 25. So we thought we’d missed them entirely–maybe during our week in Missouri–and so were astonished to find a couple of large ones, not only later but NOT in the designated and accustomed patch.

And so this is a good thing, because our eyes are much busier now, even along the “new road” and even the old logging trail up behind the wood pile where I found a large one yesterday a literal stone’s throw from the back door.

So despite all the back-country lore about finding morels in old apple orchards, burned over forest, under elms and poplars etc etc, we’ll just expect them wherever we are surprised by them.

And I always keep in mind that the very largest morel I ever collected was under the downspout at our house on Withers Road in the middle of Wytheville (VA). So I think downspouts needs to be added to the field guides as a place to look. And that’s the morel of that story.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I haven’t had any of those since I was a teenager living in the Midwest. My mom used to bread them and cook them for us. My mouth is watering just thinking about them!