Morel mushrooms sought both for taste and memories

by AJ Hughes in Flavor 574June 02, 2014
When the wet, warm rains of spring descend upon Michiana, mushrooms sprout up. The king of these is the morel.
And for some people, hunting morels is an annual spring pastime — religion, even — and actually finding the tasty morsels is akin to locating the Holy Grail.
Numerous web sites and message boards (too many to list in this story) are devoted to the hobby (obsession? passion?) of mushroom hunting. And by no means are morels the only type of tasty, edible mushroom that can be found in northern Indiana and southern Michigan. Other notables include oysters, chanterelles, puffballs, shaggy manes and old man of the woods.
Jack Hovenkamp of Hovenkamp Farms in South Bend sells morels and other types of mushrooms at the South Bend Farmer's Market. Peak season, he said, has passed, and demand was at its highest right before Mother's Day. While he acknowledges that morels have a unique and rich taste, Hovenkamp contends that people are also buying perception and nostalgia.