Black morels (Morchella elata group) range across the world and are fairly common in Oregon. They are, however, a rare delicacy because they are highly sought after by seasoned mushroom hunters and are extremely difficult to spot in the duff of the forest floor. They often grow in semi-disturbed areas. We (by “we,” I mean Henry the husband) are lucky enough to find morels every spring growing in various locales on our property. Last year, a population sprouted in and around a pile of accumulated waxed cardboard, potting soil, sand, and one-gallon nursery pots. This year, more came up in a patch of burned ground that was recently planted with fruit trees.
I have to admit that in general I like mushrooms, but I don’t LOVE mushrooms. Morels may have changed all that for me. These mushrooms got sauteed with a little olive oil and garlic, and they were delicious.