Now that’s a morel! Just returning from the BC interior with a bounty of fungi. Spent the weekend exploring last year’s forest fire zones in search of the morel mushroom. We were doing some prep for the EatWild Morel Hunting Adventure happening on June 2&3. Just getting the event posted now. More details to come. PM if you are keen to join us. #morel #morelmushrooms #wildnorthernway @wildnorthernway @janeyaurora #forage #eatwild #mushrooms #rhidianknives
Dylan Eyers of Vancouver-based Eat Wild has been doing interesting workshops on hunting and foraging for a few years now.
This week he posted a series of images to his Instagram account of an insane bounty of morel mushrooms that he picked. Along with two friends, they got permits and picked the Elephant Hill fire near Cache Creek.
Yes, this is the same spot we told you about last week that the Secwepemc Nation has regulated.
Dylan tells me that on their outings "We pick 100 pounds between three of us over a couple days. The commercial guys are picking about 40 or 50 pounds a day currently."
We may have over achieved on our morel success. I naively thought that my 2 ten rack dehydrators could handle the bounty. We ended up building drying racks at 10 pm last night. Found a few fans and we are praying for sun for the next few days. I’ll be trying some freezing technics tonight. #morels #morelmushrooms #morelmushroomhunting #forage #eatwild #eatwildfood
People kinda freaked out when he posted the above photo showing 70 pounds of mushrooms, so he posted a followup with his thoughts on how and why they pick so many. I've posted it below in its entirety for you to learn more.
If you want to learn a lot more, and collect your own bounty of fungi, he's doing a mushroom workshop in June which you can learn more about HERE.
I am getting lots of questions around the sustainability of the morel harvest. Last night I posted a picture of drying out approximately 70 pounds of fresh morels. Some folks have questioned if it was legal, sustainable, or just shameful for harvesting that many mushrooms. My understanding of mycology is that the mushroom that we pick is the fruiting body of the mycelium. Much like an apple on the tree, when you pick the apple responsibly you don’t harm the tree. So as we harvested we left approximately 70% of the morels to continue to grow for potential future pickers or any other critters that may utilize the mushroom through the lifecycle (mostly bugs eat morels). Approximately 1,000,000 ha of British Columbia were affected by forest fires this year. So that means there’s a potential for 1,000,000 ha of area for morel mushrooms to grow over the short season. This was the largest fire cycle on record for BC. We were able to harvest all of our morels within a few hectares of forest. We also expect several flashes of morels to come up in that same area over the next few weeks.
On the other hand the impact of the commercial picking industry and the recreational pickers coming to explore the bounty of morel riche will have a cumulative impact on the forests, Indigenous rights, and local community.
The local First Nations who’s traditional territory was affected by the Elephant Hill burn, have coordinated to provide guidelines and best practices to reduce the environmental impact, social impact and infringement on indigenous rights throughout the territory. You should check out this web address for more information. https://www.elephanthillfire.com The Secwépemc have asked pickers to purchase a permit and read information for best practices on harvesting with their traditional territory.
The biggest impacts will be the trampling of the forest by off-road vehicle use, camping, and human waste. Much of these impacts can be avoided by following best practices for harvesting and getting educated around indigenous rights and their concerns when using their traditional territory.
A burn of this size will be a unique opportunity to experience a very magical flush of mushrooms. I encourage you to check it out and explore it. But do so safely, buy your permit, and plan ahead to preserve your harvest.
- Dylan Eyers