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Black Morel

Morchella importuna

Black Morel (Morchella importuna)
12cc liquid culture syringe
$15 - $25 suggested donation
We ducked the fence and stayed low, out of sight of the road. I was dwelling on the thought that it is perhaps the greatest token of friendship for a fellow mycophile to reveal one of his most guarded secret troves, when he stopped abruptly. "Here we go." I looked down to see that we were standing in a sea of mature blushing morels. "The patch used to start down there on the other side of the fence," he pointed. "It's climbed about 50 feet in the last twenty or thirty years."

Long revered for its sublime flavor, the morel mushroom is about as good as gold around here. M. importuna is more often cultivated than other members of the genus, but they are notoriously difficult to reliably grow to maturity under sterile conditions. Given the promise of unparalleled rewards for the dedicated cultivator, this vigorous, fast-growing strain is a prime candidate for spawning into outdoor beds.

Of several strong wild clones, this culture shows the most eagerness to reproduce, forming dozens of minute sclerotia on the maturing mycelium in vitro, which takes on mesmerizing, shimmery charcoal color gradations.

Blushing morels are one of the varieties that grow abundantly here in the Blue Mountains of eastern Washington and Oregon, where they thrive among both deciduous and coniferous trees, and every year throughout the spring and fall the woods throng with their admirers. I feel it is only fitting that I should offer this iconic species to anyone who cares to explore its potential.

For a great treatment of indoor morel cultivation, see Tradd Cotter's Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation. If requested in the order comments, I will send along a sample of its native soil for the intrepid spirits who wish to wade into those waters.

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