Covering Kentucky

Apr 17, 2011 4:34 PM

Hunters Search for Morels in Rural Kentucky

THREELINKS, Ky. (AP) - It's spring in Kentucky, with grass growing, flowers blooming and morels sprouting.

Searching for morels, which are edible mushrooms with crinkly caps that look like sponges, has become a springtime ritual for some in rural parts of the state.

Just last weekend, Anthony Davidson and his father went hunting for morels near the Jackson-Rockcastle County line in eastern Kentucky. Davidson says the season to find them "only lasts for two or three weeks a year."

Although they don't always find many - last weekend only produced nine - Davidson's father, Armel, says the hunt is always interesting and it's good exercise.

"When you see things start getting green ... and everything is fresh and new, then you know it's time to get out there and start looking," Anthony Davidson said. "It's a unique, nostalgic feeling, too, because it's something I know my family has done forover 100 years, for sure."

Armel, a retired factory worker, said his father would take him and his sister hunting for mushrooms.

The Davidsons say the amount of morels they find each year varies. Armel Davidson said he once found a patch of 75, but that was more than a decade ago. Last year, they didn't find any in their normal hunting spots.

The father and son spent three hours last weekend looking for morels on private land near the Jackson-Rockcastle County line, scanning the ground along a creek and the edges of woodlands.

As they found the morels, Armel put his finds in a red-mesh onion bag.

"The theory is that you should put them in a mesh bag so the spores fall out (to the forest floor) and more will come back in the future," Anthony said. "That's what I've always heard."

It may take some effort to find and prepare them, but the Davidsons think it's worth it.

"No other mushroom tastes like they do," Armel said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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