Morel mushrooms are a prized part of French cuisine. They can be cultivated in a garden or, more often, collected from the wild in woodland areas throughout North America and Europe. Many people hunt morels for commercial sale; they may be sold fresh or dried, and to vegetable markets, restaurants or individual buyers. Here are tips to start selling morels you collect or grow.
Locate buyers. Various sources exist for finding buyer for your mushrooms. Websites such as forfarmers.com offer postings for both buyers and sellers. If you plan to sell fresh morels, it may be wise to post prospective availability ahead of time; with dried morels, you may have more flexibility (since you won't be as pressed for time to move the product) and accuracy (you'll know approximately how many mushrooms you have to offer for sale).
Some farmers markets and grocers offer buying stations for morels and other mushrooms. Some areas may have speciality mushroom retailers which routinely purchase morels. Check local availability for guidelines and further information.
Another option is selling directly to a restaurant or chef, or another private buyer. To do so, search online for businesses or individuals who want to purchase morels, or advertise your own supply for sale.
Sell fresh morels. To ensure top quality, sell fresh morels as soon as possible after they're picked. If you cannot sell the mushrooms on the same day they're picked, refrigerate them; do not wash them after they're picked. Keep the mushrooms out of direct sunlight and don't store them in plastic bags; morels have very active enzymes which will generate heat. Instead, collect them in paper bags or cardboard boxes.
Morels collected on windy days may have sand blown into them and cannot be sold; be attentive to weather conditions on picking day.
Sell dried morels. Dried morels, which can be cooked and reconstituted later, are especially popular when fresh mushrooms are out of season. Morels can be dried in a dehydrator on its lowest setting. Selling dried morels is much the same process as selling fresh mushrooms, only the rush to get them to market is much diminished. Dried morels can last for months (if not years) with proper storage; sales take place through the same outlets as for fresh morels.
If you hunt wild morels, use extreme caution. So-called "false morels" can be disagreeable and even toxic to humans, especially if consumed in large quantities. False morels have wrinkled caps and, when sliced open, are not hollow. If there is any doubt about the morels you collect, do an online search for false morels or consult a grocer or other expert for positive identification.
Tips and warnings
- If you hunt wild morels, use extreme caution. So-called "false morels" can be disagreeable and even toxic to humans, especially if consumed in large quantities. False morels have wrinkled caps and, when sliced open, are not hollow. If there is any doubt about the morels you collect, do an online search for false morels or consult a grocer or other expert for positive identification.