A Taste of the Woods: Morel Hunting
Searching for the ultimate of flavors
The morel season lasts about two weeks ("three if you're lucky," Soda says), and enthusiasts across the Midwest spend hopeful hours scouring woodlands for the coveted, reclusive mushroom that holds, they say, the ultimate of flavors. Buttery. Woodsy. Earthy. Rich. You can buy morels at farmers markets, but finding then preparing your own is the holy fungal grail.
Soda will traipse 12 miles or more through the woods each day, carrying at least an apple and a bottle of water. The Popp family moved to this central Missouri region near Jefferson City in the 1850s, and Soda reads the terrain well, in particular this 4-mile-long silted and flood-prone peninsula dividing the Osage and Missouri rivers. He takes me in an old pickup truck, and we bump through the woods.