One of our patrons had a craving for morels but hadn’t been able to find any quality ones while foraging himself. He remembered that Giant Eagle used to sell them but he hadn’t been able to find them there. Rather than continuing to search the groceries – it’s possible that Whole Foods may have them, but their nearest store is in Chagrin – he came to the library to see if we could point him in the right direction.
As it turns out, there’s a thriving community of morel aficionados online. Morels.com includes a classifieds forum filled with people selling everything from the mushrooms themselves to hand-carved morel-shaped gifts, and many sellers have listed their mushrooms on eBay. However, our patron would rather purchase his morels in person.
A mushroom festival would be one place to find them. Unfortunately, some of the festivals had already passed by. The Shawnee Valley Campground Mushroom Festival in Chillicothe was held from April 30 to May 3, and the Mesick Mushroom Festival in Michigan had run from May 8 to May 10. (Their website already has a countdown to next year’s 57th annual festival, which will run from May 6 to May 8, 2016.)
Eventually, we found the website of the Ohio Mushroom Society, which lists the contact information for all of its board members. Our patron decided to try and get in touch with them to see what information they could provide.
The Newton Falls Public Library has several field guides to help identify mushrooms, including Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms of the World, Peterson’s Field Guide to Mushrooms, and Edible Wild Plants and Useful Herbs. For information on morels alone, Michael Kuo’s Morels is available through CLEVNET.