Sunday, April 24, 2011

Morel season in Central Ohio

Mushroom hunting is a favorite pastime for many local residents.   The elusive morel mushroom starts appearing in the woods around here mid-April, depending on weather conditions.   Apparently weather conditions right now must be very good  because we've been hearing about a lot of big finds.   Of course we're also hearing stories about "the ones that got away" and mushroom hunters who have come up empty-handed.

What special little treasures these mushrooms are.   They are only available for a few weeks each spring, and allegedly cannot be cultivated.    Which explains why they can fetch up to $100 a pound at the local produce auctions.    Our favorite way to enjoy them is simply dredged in seasoned flour and fried in butter until crisp on the outside.   (Although we have a theory that even an old sneaker sole dredged in seasoned flour and fried in butter until crisp would be tasty).

The inn's Spring Nature weekend, usually held the last weekend of April, generally coincides with mushroom season, and while they're out in the woods birdwatching and doing other pursuits, our guests also keep an eye out for mushrooms.  Any of their finds are carefully prepared and cooked as an appetizer at dinner on Saturday evening.

It was with great surprise and delight that innkeeper Yvonne stepped outside early this morning to take the inn dog Dougal for his walk and noticed something unusual in the grass beside the driveway.   Stepping carefully, she bent down for a closer look and realized, yes, indeed, there were a handful of morels growing no more than 25 feet from the inn.    Closer inspection of the area revealed a total of 17 of the tasty little darlings.   Which is going to make Easter Dinner very enjoyable indeed.

Yvonne Martin
Innkeeper White Oak Inn

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