Leelanau News and Events

Grow Your Own...Morels?

April 26, 2021

Hunting for morel mushrooms is a springtime tradition in northern Michigan — and those in the know have zeroed in on coveted picking pockets across Leelanau County. But what if you could take this elusive, beloved genus of wild mushroom and grow it yourself, at home?

The party line, historically, has been that cultivating morel mushrooms is impossible. Try reading a few “grow your own mushrooms” guides online, and you’ll likely see the idea of growing morels dismissed out of hand. Even the types of mushrooms that can be cultivated and grown at home or on the farm — from portobellos to white button mushrooms — aren’t exactly easy to grow. But as Craig Manning writes in this week's Northern Express, sister publication of the Leelanau Ticker, a trio of researchers at Michigan State University are chasing the possibility of being able to grow morels at home.

The project aims to test China’s morel cultivation techniques on North American soil, focusing specifically on cultivation of the black morel variety. In addition, the study “will gauge market potential” for a morel cultivation industry in the U.S., touching upon everything from consumer taste tests to break-even numbers for crop yields. Researchers in the project are hopeful it could lead to removing barriers for at-home growing, with extension offices someday able to offer guides on cultivating morels the same way they do now for growing other types of agricultural products.

Learn more about the research project and what it could mean for at-home morel growing in this week's Northern Express, available to read online or on newsstands at nearly 700 spots in 14 counties across northern Michigan.

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