Weird weather brings bumper, early morel crop

NOT BAD FOR AN HOUR IN A THUNDERSTORM—Sorry Rockford Area Historical Society, Squire editor Beth Altena meant to spend only an hour in the woods before the 7 p.m. meeting on Thursday, May 3, but couldn’t leave with morels turning up everywhere. This pile was collected in just two hours.

Usually May is Morel Month in Michigan, but the early spring weather apparently caused the mushrooms to pop up sooner and perhaps disappear before their typical season would even be well underway.

Squire Editor Beth Altena had a great time hunting mushrooms last week and found so many it was hard not to step on them. In a usual season, the first week of May is a little early for any serious foraging. This year, May 3 saw many morels in the secret hunting grounds already spoiled. Fortunately, however, there were plenty of others to make up for the overgrown toppled morels.

MORELS IN CLUMPS ARE FUN TO FIND—This picture shows just six morels in a Rockford woods, but the mushrooms seemed to be everywhere—a rare occurrence, unfortunately.

In the woods at the Altena family home, a few mushrooms are usually popping up about this time of year, but a great big six-inch one was already suffering from slug damage and toppling when it was spotted.

Other mushroom-hunting readers may be enjoying this strange season, and the Squire would love the chance to share pictures and stories with our readers. E-mail them to

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.