Spring’s Treasure Hunt: Discovering Morels

As spring unfolds across Wisconsin, mushroom enthusiasts and farmers alike are buzzing with excitement over what promises to be an exceptional season for morel mushrooms. The combination of timely rainfall and late spring snowfalls has set the stage for a bountiful harvest. That’s according to morel mushroom buyer Tom Nondorf.

“With the rainfall and weather we’ve been having, it’s really helped keep the mushroom crop going,” Nondorf says. “But the late snowfalls in spring are especially beneficial. Over the years, I’ve noticed that the more snow we get in late spring, the better off the mushroom crop is for the year.”

Nondorf has been closely monitoring this season’s progress and is optimistic about the outlook. “I’ve been buying mushrooms for over 14 years, and I can confidently say that this year is shaping up to be one of the best in recent years.”

The success of the mushroom crop isn’t just dependent on weather conditions, however. Environmental factors such as soil pH, temperature, and tree species play crucial roles in influencing growth and availability.

 “Mushrooms thrive in specific conditions, often around certain tree species like elm or apple orchards,” explained Nondorf.

For those eager to join in the hunt for morels,Nondorf offered some advice. “When foraging, it’s essential to correctly identify the mushrooms you’re picking. Morels have distinctive characteristics, but there are also false mushrooms to watch out for. And remember, mushrooms can appear overnight, so keep a keen eye out, especially around areas with suitable tree cover.”

As for cooking with these fungi, Nondorf suggests frying the morels in butter. But there are endless possibilities as some prefer coating them in flour for extra crispiness, while others get creative with stuffing and deep frying.

 “Whether you’re foraging or buying locally, there’s nothing quite like the taste of freshly harvested morels,” Nondorf says.