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mushrooms

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Fungi foragers rejoice: a new mushroom-hunting season is upon us. Many species of wild mushrooms grow throughout Michigan, and this is the perfect time of year to try to find them. But before you savor that tempting toadstool, make sure you’ve done your research. (No, really.)

Michigan State Capitol
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Today on Stateside, we talk to one urban planning professional about what Detroit could look like if the built environment reflected the Black lives that have formed the fabric of the city. Plus, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is opening a criminal investigation into the group Unlock Michigan, which organized a petition drive seeking to limit Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive powers. 

illustration of nurses and doctors wearing PPE
Kevin Kobsic / United Nations / Unsplash

Michigan’s COVID-19 caseload has been on a rollercoaster for the past few weeks. We spoke with Michigan's medical director Joneigh Khaldun for an update. Plus, researchers at Michigan State University are working on cultivating the ever elusive morel mushrooms. And, we kick off our summer series about how systemic racism shapes the world around us with a conversation about healthcare.

morels, mushrooms
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It’s that time of year again, when hunters hit the woodlands in search of that elusive Michigan delicacy: the morel mushroom.

Phil Tedeschi, vice-president of the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club, gave me some foraging tips this month as we walked the woods of a secret location somewhere in Washtenaw County. 

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Warm weather is here across Michigan, and with it brings fresh food out of our gardens. One of those delicious, fresh dishes you can make is morel mushroom conserva. The Stateside Test Kitchen was lucky enough to have Chef James Rigato come into the studio to share his recipe.

Richard Steih / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Selling morel mushrooms in Michigan could soon get easier.

Right now, people who gather and sell morels to restaurants and other local businesses must first be certified as mushroom identification experts.

Until last year, the state didn't offer a way to get that certification. Now there's a class and test mushroom hunters can take to become certified experts. It costs $175. 

Morel mushrooms spring from the ground in Michigan.
State of Michigan

If you want to find wild mushrooms and eat them yourself, fine. But if you want to sell them, state and federal law requires a certification.  But until now, Michigan didn’t offer a way to become certified.

“If you talk to the folks up north, they never had a problem, nobody really bothered with it until a couple of years ago,” said Chris Wright. He helped design the curriculum and the new state test to get that mushroom expert designation.

Michigan State University

Scientists look all over the Earth for things called drug leads. Those are things that could eventually make new medicines.

Researchers at Michigan State University have discovered an enzyme in a species of poisonous mushroom.

Jonathan Walton is a professor of plant biology at MSU.

The Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club "Mushroom of the Month" - the Boletus variipes.
MMHC

There may be folks grumbling about the cool, wet end of summer we've had, but not the “shroomers.”

Mushroom hunters are having a blast with a bumper crop of wild mushrooms.

Philip Tedeschi is president of the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club.

"Fall has been starting out very good. This summer, the chanterelles and black trumpets and some of my favorite mushrooms come up then," said Tedeschi.

"Right now, the hen of the woods are starting. Hen of the woods is a mushroom that averages about three pounds. The ones I pick are typically one to five pounds. In our club, someone brought in a 42-pounder."

Tedeschi says the record for this mushroom weighs in at more than 100 pounds, from Pennsylvania.

Mushrooms love wet, cool weather.

“Mushrooms are even higher percentage water than animals. They need the water to grow. (In) a dry year we won’t see very many mushrooms at all,” he said.

*Listen to our interview with Tedeschi above.

user ladydragonflycc / Flickr

It's the time of the year that many of you have been waiting for: mushroom hunting season. 

Mushroom lovers know that May not only brings flowers in Michigan, it also brings delicious morel mushrooms. And that means the hunt is on all over the state. 

Phil Tedeschi is the president of the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club and will be leading most of the upcoming hunts. He joined us on Stateside.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

There’s a new project out of Michigan Technological University in Houghton that involves phone apps.

The idea is to use apps to share information with professional researchers.

So far the team of professors and students have made four web apps.

  1. They help people measure beach safety,
  2. air pollution,
  3. community ethnography,
  4. and mushroom locations.

Alex Mayer is a Professor of Environmental & Geological Engineering at Michigan Technological University and he’s the project’s director.

user ladydragonflycc / Flickr

What do experimental composer John Cage and Ann Arbor have in common, you ask? Morels. Story goes that John Cage was something of an amateur mushroom hunter, and he used to hunt for morels in the woods around Ann Arbor.

And since Spring means morel hunting season in Michigan, and many mushroom-enthusiasts are out foraging for the delicacy, a group in Ann Arbor is putting a musical twist on the annual spring hunt.

To celebrate what would be Cage’s 100th birthday this year, U of M music professor Michael Gurevich teamed up with U of M mycology professor Tim James for a new kind of morel hunt.

"I thought, as an homage to Cage, let’s create this performance where we tell stories, which Cage really liked to do, while hunting for edible mushrooms in the woods," explains Gurevich.