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It’s going to be a glorious season for morel mushrooms in the Okanagan

FILE PHOTO - Scott Moran, a Kelowna forager
FILE PHOTO - Scott Moran, a Kelowna forager
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Scott Moran

Wildfires may not be good for humans, but certain mushrooms thrive after the heat.

Scott Moran, a Kelowna forager who sells mushrooms and greens to restaurants and at farmers' markets, said morels will be back with abundance in the Okanagan since last year’s wildfire season burned thousands of hectares.

They thrive in areas burned by wildfires and Moran is already finding them with his foraging groups.

“The morels are good right now and they’re just starting,” he said.

According to Vancouver Island Mushrooms, the taste of morels is variously described as nutty, meaty, umami, and like mushrooms. They generally grow in temperatures above 10 C and have a honeycomb-like cap.

Moran’s been holding classes every Sunday on mushroom foraging and every weekend they’ve been able to find morels, which isn’t typical, he said.

Last year, morels were few and far between because of the extremely dry conditions, he said. Even foraging stinging nettles, a plant typically found in abundance, was difficult.

There are two different types of morels, ones that grow following forest fires and those that grow at lower elevations every year and there typically aren’t as many, he said.

Those in higher elevations in fire-scorched areas need heat so they’ll be available between May and July in abundance, he said.

“They’ll be a much better price this year,” Moran said. “Come see me at the farmer’s market, I’ll have lots of deals when the season gets going.”

A lot of foragers will be moving into the Central and North Okanagan this season in search of the mushrooms, he said.

Wild asparagus also grows this time of year but it depends on the weather as the plant likes rain, he said.

“They’re fairly late after the cold weather,” he said.

Lilly spears are within the asparagus family, so he recommends trying that, when out foraging for greens.

Find Moran at the Kelowna Farmer’s and Crafter’s market this spring and summer season.

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