Iowa Public Television


Northwest Commerical Mushroom Harvest Likely to be Poor

posted on April 7, 2006

Last year's mild wildfire season in the Northwest may be bad news for commercial mushroom hunters, but hobbyists already are salivating at the thought of spring morels. Mushrooms typically thrive in the year after wildfires, but many of last year's fires were in grass and rangeland instead of forests, where the mushrooms are most often found.

However, pothunters, hobbyists who collect enough of the wild mushrooms for dinner and perhaps some extras for drying, will likely be in luck. The reason is that the soil got a lot of moisture last year before the freeze in the fall, giving the morels a good chance to grow. Morels are highly prized by gourmet cooks and fine restaurants, and can fetch $30 a pound or more for pickers.

The high prices have led to a competitive commercial picking industry, largely made up of traveling outfits that go from burn site to burn site. For pothunters, nothing is more frustrating than arriving at a favorite mushroom site only to find it's already been picked clean by a commercial outfit.

Tags: agriculture crops harvest mushrooms news