Rouley & Ruey: Morel Mushroom Hunt


Once a year, for just three to six weeks, morel mushrooms appear, flourish and then quickly disappear in wooded and not-so-wooded areas from southern to northern Illinois. These delectable and rare edible fungi have an earthy, nutty flavor and are highly valued by chefs and everyday cooks nationwide. But finding these delicate mushrooms is the real fun for morel hunters from the east coast to the Midwest, where they're most plentiful. Passionate morel hunters get out, mesh bags in hand, at the first sign of mushrooms in their area.  They keep their favorite spots a secret, compare successes, use pronouns to refer to mushrooms and exchange recipes and hunting stories as the season hits its peak. Call it a short frenzy of morel madness.

Central Illinois residents and best friends Angie Rouley and Ruey Sandusky have been hunting for morels together every year for about five years. They've found the mushrooms growing near a variety of trees and they like to hunt near hilly areas.

They know morels tend to grow when Mayapple, Prairie Trillium and Bluebells are also flowering. Ground and air temperature is also critical. But morels are finicky and may not grow in the same place twice. Which makes finding one even more of a thrill.  Sandusky calls it "an adult scavenger hunt." is the unofficial online headquarters for thousands of hunters. Visit the site for a clearinghouse of information about varieties of mushrooms, a week by week map of where morels are appearing, hunting etiquette, recipes, and much more.


About Rouley & Ruey
Angie Rouley and Ruey Sandusky met when they were cast in lead roles in a production of the musical "Bright Star." They've been friends and morel mushroom buddies ever since. When she's not deep in the woods or serving as an accompanist at church, Rouley can be found as an assistant at a central Illinois courthouse. Sandusky is an Administration Coordinator at the Danville Public Library. She likes to travel, especially to the UK, bake, hike, and dabble in community theater.