Hide and Seek: Foraging for Morels

Let's play a game. Can you spot the morel mushroom, hidden somewhere on the forest floor?

Yesterday, I spent some time foraging up in Lancaster County. My guide was the friendly and (very) knowledgeable Casey Spacht, general manager of Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op. A veteran forager, Spacht offered to take me out a few weeks ago, but he said we had to wait, "for the abundance to start."

Our main target on this particular day was morel mushrooms, rare little earthy gems with a super-short season. They fetch jaw-dropping prices on the market, and now I know why: They're hard to find and even trickier to spot—you have to train your eye to discern one texture among the visual cacophony of the forest floor. You can stare at a spot for five minutes, look away, and then return your gaze to see a perfect little guy sticking out of the leaves. Once you spot it, it seems so obvious.

We had a great day—the weather helped; a sunny day after some rain—and both of us left the woods with a nice little stash. Last night, I cooked pasta with ramps (a gift from Casey; we didn't find any on our trek), wild garlic and morels. Very cool.

Look for a full report on my foraging mission in June's Grid