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Can you make a living off of morel hunting

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IMO- it also helps tremendously to have/ be able to make connections with local chefs and restaurants. some chefs in PNW and california won't buy your mushrooms without USNF permits, but don't often care that much about state licensing requirements. it's worth noting some sites in those areas make you split them in half before you take them if you don't have a commercial permit. if you can, however, manage to preserve large amounts of mushrooms on the hill and market them yourself in town, instead of staying in the buy stations around the burn sites, you can make a good deal more. morel prices in peak season on the hill can be as low as 4$ a lb. morel prices at the beginning of the season, in town, can fetch up to 40$/lb (although low as 18). this depends on a lot of factors, though in the Southeast, we would buy mushrooms in the early afternoon from guys who would forage them that morning. we never paid 40$/lb out there, but. theoretically, your goal is possible, but it depends on how you want to approach it. chefs are way more receptive to the random knock on the back door than you might expect; just go early, be polite, and expect to get a couple dollars fewer a pound than top market price. but 5 pounds in 2 hours for 110$ is way slicker than working for 20 pounds in 6 hours, and gaining a reputation with the forest rangers while youre at it, for 120$. plus, you can get connections to other restaurants and have places to sell later-stage mushrooms. if you want income, its best as a supplement, but it's possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
IMO- it also helps tremendously to have/ be able to make connections with local chefs and restaurants. some chefs in PNW and california won't buy your mushrooms without USNF permits, but don't often care that much about state licensing requirements. it's worth noting some sites in those areas make you split them in half before you take them if you don't have a commercial permit. if you can, however, manage to preserve large amounts of mushrooms on the hill and market them yourself in town, instead of staying in the buy stations around the burn sites, you can make a good deal more. morel prices in peak season on the hill can be as low as 4$ a lb. morel prices at the beginning of the season, in town, can fetch up to 40$/lb (although low as 18). this depends on a lot of factors, though in the Southeast, we would buy mushrooms in the early afternoon from guys who would forage them that morning. we never paid 40$/lb out there, but. theoretically, your goal is possible, but it depends on how you want to approach it. chefs are way more receptive to the random knock on the back door than you might expect; just go early, be polite, and expect to get a couple dollars fewer a pound than top market price. but 5 pounds in 2 hours for 110$ is way slicker than working for 20 pounds in 6 hours, and gaining a reputation with the forest rangers while youre at it, for 120$. plus, you can get connections to other restaurants and have places to sell later-stage mushrooms. if you want income, its best as a supplement, but it's possible.
This is what I am looking for here, it sounds like it is do-able, I think a form of transportation is key if I want to preserve my harvest. I am sure if one was to know enough spots for each season it could be a possible way of making a living.
 

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I think it is imperative that you have a mode of transportation. In far northern California the 'spots' can be spread far apart. Also, not many Morel hunters will just give up their 'huntin' grounds' to someone they don't know. ( hell, many wouldn't give 'em up to people they DO know!)
 

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For an excellent understanding of mushroom hunting as a business read Langdon Cook’s The Mushroom Hunter : https://www.amazon.com/Mushroom-Hun...8&qid=1518409437&sr=1-3&keywords=langdon+cook
I purchased this book a few days after this was posted and I'm very close to finishing it. It was very educational on mushrooms in general and even more informative / eye opening on the mushroom "market" and all that it entails. I have never purchased packaged, dry mushrooms and I doubt I ever will after reading this book. It is worth the investment (both money & time) to purchase and read BEFORE venturing out and "wingin'" it. It covers everything from pickin', buying, selling, camps, competition, restaurants and so much more. If anything, I think it would help you to create a plan and avoid some definite snags you'd encounter simply from not knowing. I would love to have experienced this as the author did . . . if I was 20-years younger. Best of luck to you.
 

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Morelsxs -
Good Book! I read it - in three days - while hibernating this winter. Langdon Cook's book on the salmon fishery was a worthwhile read too.
Best to you in this Morel season.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
If I were in Oregon I would just plant some good weed! No one is going to teach you to hunt mushrooms, I know, I asked for 20yrs with no help. I finally just started going and bringing back every thing I found and would hit the bar to find out what I had. Then I started learning my tree's to associate them with. Fortunately for you we now have the internet. Good luck to you.
XD great info and my respect is here for all of you that put in the foot work pre internet. I made it to Washington now. Olympia to be specific, if anyone lives close by and has construction of land work I can do, would love to get some work pre mushrooming.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Jaws, If you need someone to tag along for Morels, let me know. I should be out there next week.
I am in Seattle now, making my way North. If you happen to come up this way let me know. Most likely I will be further North in a week or two.
 

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Jaws,
Look for videos by Larry Lonik, he talks about finding 200lbs a day out west. I know several people that sell them on the side and there are still good years and bad years and they know where to hunt.
I think you'd be better off hunting the midwest. Once you find the season you could follow it up. Season moves about 120 - 150 miles per week which judging by how far you've walked should be no problem. They currently go for between $20 & $24/lb. depending on how plentiful they are. If you pull it off post so we can share your journey. Good luck!
 

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Your one advantage is that you're out West and can hunt burn sites. Your major disadvantage is a lack of transport. If you want to take your produce direct to the consumer and eliminate the middleman, you have no way to do that.

Plus, while you're hiking from one area to another, "following the weather" as you put it, others are driving there and beating you to it. You could try hitching, but that's chancy in more ways than one! Too many crazies out there.

There's an author I like who wrote about hitting the road with his buddy in a VW micro bus, without enough money or gas to get them out of Ohio! They just figured they'd work their way along. And they managed to travel all over the West, getting along on the good graces of people who saw a couple of guys in need of a few dollars and maybe a hot meal, and who were too proud to beg! But that was back in the day, when people still looked out for one another. It's kind of a different world now.

FWIW, I admire you, hiking all that way. God, how I loved that back in the day, but I'm far too old for that now. I wish you good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Your one advantage is that you're out West and can hunt burn sites. Your major disadvantage is a lack of transport. If you want to take your produce direct to the consumer and eliminate the middleman, you have no way to do that.

Plus, while you're hiking from one area to another, "following the weather" as you put it, others are driving there and beating you to it. You could try hitching, but that's chancy in more ways than one! Too many crazies out there.

There's an author I like who wrote about hitting the road with his buddy in a VW micro bus, without enough money or gas to get them out of Ohio! They just figured they'd work their way along. And they managed to travel all over the West, getting along on the good graces of people who saw a couple of guys in need of a few dollars and maybe a hot meal, and who were too proud to beg! But that was back in the day, when people still looked out for one another. It's kind of a different world now.

FWIW, I admire you, hiking all that way. God, how I loved that back in the day, but I'm far too old for that now. I wish you good luck.
I am hitch hiking and regular hiking. Boy is it tiring, I am throwing out gear left and right. I think I am going to have to dedicate myself to a new form of mobility in order to hunt fungi. It's okay though, it's about the journey right? I must say sleeping under the stars and trees at night really does something good for your mind. Even when it rains, makes the tent feel like a 4 star suite!
 

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Morelsxs -
Good Book! I read it - in three days - while hibernating this winter. Langdon Cook's book on the salmon fishery was a worthwhile read too.
Best to you in this Morel season.
Finally got around to ordering the book. Can't wait! The best to you this season as well.

Yes, Jaws, please keep us posted. Share some pics from time-to-time. It is all about the journey. :) Stay safe. May God be with you . . .
 

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Making a living just picking morels is a tuff way to go. You need transportation to and from buyers access to good burns storage for buckets, baskets camping gear. At one time you could make a good wage following the circuit (picking all mushrooms) but now it's not so easy. Camping on a burn and drying your product might be a way too make money if you are on foot. I see you are north right now, which is a little early for burns work your way back south and then east. I followed morels for the past 30 years throughout the pacific northwest. I also bought morels for a number of years. Around 20% of pickers are doing well and the rest just trading dollars to get by.
 

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Also, out west you have to have permits to pick in some / most areas and also have a limit of 2 gallons per person, per day. Anything you sell in different states you must pay taxes on too. If you're doing everything by the book, I doubt you'll make much money.
 
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