The past weekend has a lot of people in Kansas feeling a lot like spring and that means the season of looking for the ever-popular morel mushroom is at hand.
Morels spring up around dead trees when daytime temperatures top 60 degrees and it stays above 40 degrees at night – statistics that fit the last couple of days following the melting snowfall of last weekend that brought the moist conditions that the mushrooms love.
Good hunting grounds include the areas surrounding dead elm trees and old apple orchards. When a tree reaches the stage of decay where the bark is slipping off the trunk, lots of morels are likely to be found.
Morels are widespread and easy to identify. The have a much-appreciated taste and sell for up to $20 a pound in grocery stores.
With that in mind, mushroom enthusiasts might want to mark their calendar for Friday workshop at the Dreher 4-H Building on the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Lawrence.
The workshop is sponsored by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, in partnership with K-State Research and Extension, Kaw Valley Mycological Society and the University of Kansas and will help people obtain the credentials necessary to sell wild morel mushrooms.
The workshop is intended to help ensure that wild harvested mushrooms sold as morels in the state of Kansas are safe to consume. Current regulations under KDA's Food Safety and Lodging program require that mushrooms picked in the wild for sale must be individually inspected for safety by an approved mushroom identification expert.
Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be recognized as mushroom identification experts in order to meet this regulation. This is a three year certification.
The course is open to the public free of Pre-registration for the workshop is required and registration is limited to 90 people.
To register for the workshop visit the KDA website. Preference will be given to people from Kansas harvesting mushrooms in Kansas.