BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Mushroom hunters have had a slow start
to the season this year. Morel mushrooms, which are found in woods all across
the country depending on the time of the year, usually start popping up in the
beginning to mid-April in Indiana.
Ron Kerner, mushroom expert of Indianamushrooms.com, said
the slow start was due to the brutal winter.
“Even though it was a slow start, once they got going,
people were finding lots and lots of mushrooms,” he said. “It turned out to be a
good year for people.”
Kerner, who collects and identifies mushrooms, has been
interested in them for 20 years. He first got interested through morel
mushrooms, and when he was hunting, he saw others.
It grew in to a hobby, he said.
“(Morels) are one of the choice edible mushrooms,” he said.
“They are tasty mushrooms, and people like to go to woods and find them.”
Morel mushrooms were late this year by about a week, said
Steve Russell, a cofounder of Hoosier Mushroom Society.
The season varies each year. Two years ago, for example, the
season was over by April 12 because there were a bunch of 80-degree days,
The length of time from when people start finding mushrooms
to when they stop growing is one month on average from April until May, he said.
This year, mushroom season is close to wrapping up in
southern Indiana, but is just getting started in northern Indiana, Russell said.
Recent rainfall might bring out more mushrooms, Kerner said.
The Hoosier Mushroom Society formed about three years ago to
help people identify mushrooms. Volunteers with the group lead forays or guided
mushroom hunts. People collect mushrooms, and at the end of each foray, they lay
them out and identify them.
“Mushroom hunting is a skill some people don’t have or
understand,” Russell said. “It’s not commonplace knowledge, and it takes a lot
The best way to learn about identifying mushrooms is to go
on an organized foray. Indiana has 2,000 to 3,000 different kinds of mushrooms,
“It involves patience, people coming and finding the right
spots,” he said.
Mushroom hunting is a hobby for Russell. His main interest
Russell, who started cultivating mushrooms about 10 years
ago, taught himself over time and understands learning about mushrooms is a
“It’s something that fascinates me,” he said. “The growth
process is different from plants or any other kind of organism.”
Being out in the woods is Russell’s favorite aspect of
For Kerner, it’s the “sense of finding something you’ve
never seen before and trying to figure out what it is.”
Regardless the reason, mushroom hunters across the state
agree that there is something special about this four-week time of hunting.
Information about forays with the Hoosier Mushroom Society
can be found at http://hoosiermushrooms.org.