As spring downpours rage on, something magical happens in woodlands across central and southern Ohio: They turn into treasure troves of wild edibles. Ramps, nettles, wintercrest, and—most prized of all—morel mushrooms crowd forest floors, free for the taking if you can spot them. Before you go scouring the parks, brush up on your dendrology. Some mushrooms have symbiotic relationships with trees, and morels are keen on living ash trees and dying elm trees—as are their toxic lookalikes, false morels. Your best defense against a test of fate is an expert guide. The Ohio Mushroom Society organizes forays throughout the year for members, and some of the long-time foragers will even take you on a private hunt.
ohiomushroomsociety.org, $15 membership fee
Originally published in April 2014 issue.