Morel season is upon us in SE PA. If you’ve never had a fresh morel (not the kind that’s been sitting at the store for days), you have been missing out on one of the greatest delicacies nature offers, and the window for finding them will only be open for another couple weeks at most. Morchella species form mycorrhizal relationships with trees like elm (dead, before the bark has fallen off), old apple trees, ash, or poplar. I, however, always find them growing near medium-sized Tree-of-Heaven and spicebush in Fairmount Park. If there’s one, there are likely to be more around, so get low and scan, looking for the deep grooves amongst the camoflauge of leaf-litter. I managed to gather a dozen from Fairmount Park last Thursday. My suspicion is that the deer found most of them before I had a chance.
On Thursday, Miss Mac’s class started a new batch of cardboard spawn using more Stropharia mycelium from a local patch. The first batch is coming along really well and is just about ready to spawn to bunker bags. In class, we talked about saprophytes (fungi that eat dead debris), parasites (fungi that eat living tissue) and mycorrhizal species (whose mycelia fuse to plant roots). Thanks to the mini mushroom-haven that is Fairmount Park, we had a saprophytic and a mycorrhizal species to pass around. Not everyone was as enthused about the morels as I was!
I wish there was better chicken news to report… I spent the afternoon Thursday checking stacks of logs in Aston with tree-cutter and jack-of-all-trades Keith Lawless in Aston, PA. These same stacks had half a dozen chicken logs ripe for the cutting in January, but this time when we showed up with a chainsaw, we were saddened to learn that these logs had met their fate at the teeth of an industrial woodchipper. With Spring upon us, we’re hoping that a few gusty storms will help a few chicken trees out there find their way to these stacks.
We’re always looking for new sources for logs, so if you know of anyone that works in the tree business please comment below or message me. Thanks!