ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO – It’s shaping up to be a banner year for morel mushroom hunters in the St. Louis area. Hunters have been spreading out across the bi-state area looking for the valuable mushroom.
Shauna Sullivan has been hunting morel mushrooms in the St. Clair, Missouri area for about seven years, “I just hear they’re worth their weight in gold.”
When she finds them, she doesn’t sell them, she cooks them for her family, “Morel mushroom sautéed in butter taste like a steak taste like a juicy sirloin steak,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan is a photographer for the Missouri Morel Hunting website, the group follows morel sightings statewide and soil temperatures.
The mushrooms can be free for the taking. The spokesman for the Missouri Department of Conservation, Dan Zarlenga, said, “You are permitted to collect the morel mushrooms on conservation areas unless otherwise posted for personal use.”
In other words, restaurant owners cannot take them from conservation land to sell to customers and people cannot sell them either if they are from conservation land. People may want to get a book to make sure the mushroom you plan to eat is safe for consumption.
Good hunters are good at keeping secrets, “It’s always been a really hush, hush kind of thing because people don’t want to give away their spots,” said Sullivan.
It’s difficult for Shauna Sullivan to keep quiet about the day she hit the morel jackpot, “I see one and another and everywhere I look there’s morels the feeling was kind of unbelievable, 53 in ten minutes.”
The weather is credited with the potentially big crop this spring.
People said a pound of the morel mushrooms can sell for $40.