FALLS MILLS, VA. — —
Princeton resident Sigrid Cahill, 84, grew up hunting mushrooms in Frankfurt, Germany. As a young girl, her family would go outdoors seeking different types of mushrooms.
“Everybody looked for mushrooms,” she said.
Cahill remembers looking for mushrooms after the rain and picking edible mushrooms in the fall, when it is cool and moist. In Germany, her family picked all kinds of mushrooms.
“They are fun to pick and they are healthy. They have a lot of vitamins,” she added.
Cahill, who married a sergeant in the Air Force, came to the U.S. in 1954. She continues to pick mushrooms in West Virginia, but is cautious.
“Here it is not as safe (as Germany),” she warned. “You surely have to know what you are doing.”
Staples said inexperienced hunters should exercise caution.
“Never eat a mushroom until you are 100 percent positive of its type. Many mushrooms are extremely toxic, resulting in sickness and even death if ingested,” he said.
The moral craze is not limited to the two Virginias. Festivals can be found all over the U.S., including Indiana and Michigan during the spring. Moral cook-offs and hunting competitions are also another way to celebrate the mysterious fungus, according to Staples.
“In larger cities, restaurants pay top dollar for fresh morels. In the spring, they can be found fresh at some farmer’s markets. Although I have seen dehydrated morels sold in certain grocery stores as a premium price,’ he added.
On the website www.moralmasters.com, one pound of fresh western moral cost around $72. Want more? Fifteen pounds will cost you $649.