Apple Orchards

Discussion in 'New York' started by geogymn, May 1, 2016.

  1. geogymn

    geogymn Morel Connoisseur

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    I posted this as a "new" topic as it might help in other places beyond the scope of Central NY.
    People mention Apple Orchards frequently in these Morel forums and for new foragers clarification might be in order.
    There are several variations of orchards. For a young person their concept might be the vast commercial orchards, with hundreds of trees, that they buzz by in the family SUV, if they happen to glance up from their smart phones.
    One might repress any mycophagy desires to collect Morels from such an orchard due to applied chemicals.
    A similar type orchard is an old commercial orchard, maybe not as large as a contemporary orchard, but one that is being reclaimed by nature. Again there might be a danger from residual chemicals that were once applied and may linger for years to come. This situation has many variables and it would behoove someone to do some research before the consumption of Morels found in such an orchard.
    The orchards that I frequent I call Homestead Orchards. Most early settlers planted an orchard on their property, some had to by law. These may be the orchards you bump into whilst walking through a semi-mature hardwoods. They may be literally a hundred years old or older. They range in size from a couple of trees to usually less then a hundred. Most are survivors from a group that have long died out. This is, for me, prime Morel hunting ground. And although I am usually skunked in this type of orchard I never fail to slow down and take a closer look. You might too.
    So don't look for orchards, don't even look for Morels, take a walk in the woods and look for "a" tree. Look for an Apple tree, an Elm tree, an Ash tree, etc., and then look down and spot the elusive Morel! Most of all don't forget to enjoy the hunt!
     
  2. fuelledbybeaujolais

    fuelledbybeaujolais Morel Enthusiast

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    thanks for this. i have a few homestead orchards that i plan on checking starting now. ido you know if there are any elms in the syracuse area (oneida onondaga)? i am new to the east coast and have heard that many are gone.
     

  3. mariawhaven@yahoo_com

    mariawhaven@yahoo_com Young Morel

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    Hi Geogymn, Have you noticed if the fiddleheads are popping yet? Have you seen any peasant backs?? Thanks for the feedback.
     
  4. geogymn

    geogymn Morel Connoisseur

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    fuelled,
    Many Elms are gone but many remain. The Elm's main nemesis is carried by a beetle and the beetle can and do miss many trees, at least for a while. Syracuse has plenty of Elms.

    maria, I haven't seen any fiddleheads but this time of year I am walking the highlands opposed to the rich, loamy lowlands where the Ostrich Ferns dwell. I would love to bump into a patch though! Be on guard against ticks down there and everywhere for that matter.

    Good luck, the season is upon us and the weather seems to be cooperating for a change. Enjoy the hunt.

     
  5. gmichael7

    gmichael7 Morel Enthusiast

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    Good stuff, Geo. Good idea to start this thread - maybe it'll grow into a good permanent resource as others contribute.

    My only real harvest experience has been in a really old (30 + years defunct) commercial orchard. I was informed at one point that orchards that hadn't been treated in over 15 years would 'likely' be safe, but I didn't do much of my own research. I've now done some cursory review, and there's a good article from 'FUNGI Volume 3:2 Spring 2010', which discusses a lead poisoning incident that lead to further study.

    Again, my review so far is just cursory, so I'll be digging in further and will share here and hopefully others will look, learn and share summaries as well. I'm going to excerpt some comments from this article below as an intro to anyone interested.

    "We would feel uncomfortable consuming morels from those orchards in our study that were heavily sprayed, and would not serve them to children. Compounding this problem is the fact that Morchella esculenta has recently started emerging in many younger apple orchards that were planted and heavily treated with lead arsenate in the heyday of lead arsenate. We sampled a number of younger apple orchards that have been included in town recreation areas in the states of New York and Massachusetts, and found them to have high values of both arsenic and lead. The lead values were particularly high, since lead was also used in fungicides (Wong et al., 2002). Such younger contaminated apple orchards in recreation areas and among the dirt roads of apple growing areas in New York and New England states are just beginning to emerge as potentially prolific morel collecting sites. Given that some northeastern apple growers are opting to leave contaminated orchard plots untilled, uncut, and untended in order to minimize the amount of arsenic and lead that leaches into the waterways, we anticipate that high numbers of morels will be collected from these orchards in the years to come. In light of our conclusions regarding lead and arsenic levels in M. esculenta, we find this prospect quite worrisome.
    The high variance in the lead and arsenic levels among the soil samples used in this study is a good indication that there may be areas with even higher levels of both metals. It is entirely possible that people are collecting morels in areas with dangerously high levels of lead and arsenic, and it is therefore recommended that people test the soil of their frequently visited morel collecting spots. <strong><em>Fortunately, testing facilities for heavy metals in soil are available at several research centers in the Northeast; and determining the heavy metal levels in the soil of mushroom collecting spots can be both simple and affordable.</em> <strong>

    This study has taught us that we cannot take the safety of what seem like pristine habitats for granted. The highest levels of both arsenic and lead in the soil and in the fruitbodies of M. esculenta came from an apple orchard adjacent to a picturesque neighborhood in Vermont and from a large orchard in the middle of a residential neighborhood in a New York town. Considering these realities, the key conclusion of this study is that in order to be responsible consumers of wild mushrooms, we must be more vigilant about ascertaining the safety of the mushrooms that we pick and eat."

    For now, I'm going to contact Cornell with the contact info found on the document cwmi.css.cornell.edu/guidetosoil.pdf

    I'll report back with what I learn about the process and cost for getting soil tested. I'd like to think there's a way that any of us can just collect samples from our favorite orchard locations, get them tested quickly and reasonably and hopefully rule them out as a health risk.

     
  6. geogymn

    geogymn Morel Connoisseur

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    gmichael7,
    Great post! Eye opening and informational. Does the mycophagist community a service. Thanks!
     
  7. audiophoenix

    audiophoenix Morel Connoisseur

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    How fitting. I just went to check out an apple cluster where my boss owns some farm land.

    I know my boss's family has owned this land for a long time.

    Here's a pic of the area
    https://i.imgur.com/7S0sfbx.png

    The hill is facing west and it's at about 830 ft.

    I'm wondering if it's an issue that the trees are surrounded by farm land. As far as I know it's just a hay field. Might have to confirm that.

    No Mushrooms yet, but it's very rainy today so I'm wondering if I'll see anything in the coming days/weeks.
     
  8. geogymn

    geogymn Morel Connoisseur

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    audio, Maybe you can find out what has been applied to said farmland. Isn't it sad that you're not suppose to eat the fish, even from a remote pond and we have to take care from anything we harvest from mother earth?
     
  9. scope1

    scope1 Morel Enthusiast

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    Good job Geo. I've been hunting for only 2 years now around old apple orchards. My orchards have not been sprayed for 30+ years. Two years ago ,my first year hunting, I got about 50 lbs of morels. Last year was a bust. You have convinced me that its a good idea to send out a soil sample to check for lead and arsenic. I also have some dehydrated morels from 2 years ago that I would be worth testing. I am in Columbia County and the Cooperative extension office is close by. Ill pay them a visit this week. and see what's up. Here the fiddleheads are ready as well as the ramps. Trout lily abound. If the morels show themselves this year ,it will be very soon. If I get any information I will pass it on.
     
  10. scope1

    scope1 Morel Enthusiast

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    Got 'em. /Users/Bob/Downloads/morels2016.htm
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2017
  11. audiophoenix

    audiophoenix Morel Connoisseur

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    I agree Geo, It's a shame we have to consider contamination in the first place.

    On a side note, I took another look up there again and walked a little further back this time. I found a small road that leads through a wooded area and the road is lined with apple trees that are not surrounded by farm land. Looks pretty promising.

    The best part is it's about 10 minutes from my work. So I've been checking on lunch breaks. Still have never found a morel so I'm hopeful about this spot... but I'm also skeptical as I've been skunked so many times.
     
  12. hoblershang

    hoblershang Morel Connoisseur

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    Hey guys would thorn apple trees b as good as regular apple trees I have plenty on my property was searching in them last yr it mixed thorn,regular, n elms.
     
  13. geogymn

    geogymn Morel Connoisseur

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    I walk past plenty of thorn apples (Hawthorns, Crataegus monogyna,) and don't believe they are in the same league as the true apples (Malus domestica).
     
  14. scope1

    scope1 Morel Enthusiast

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    http://nemf1.homestead.com/files/bakaitis/MORELS_FROM_APPLE_ORCHARDS.pdf

    The site above gives an excellent account of lead and arsenic in morels found in old apple orchards.They state that the amount of lead consumed by eating morels in an orchard is probably far lower than the amount of lead in galvanized water pipes. They conclude that as far as arsenic is concerned there is no clear answer, based on several studies, but they are probably safe to eat( as long as they are not sprayed directly)
    Here in Columbia County the greys are already out( collected a few dozen yesterday) Tomorrow I will send samples of soil to be tested however if I read the article correctly , even if soil concentration of arsenic is still high after 30 years of not spraying, the chance of accumulation in the morels is very small.
    For what it's worth , I have been eating what I picked without fear but I would defer feeding them to my grandchildren until a soil and possible mushroom analysis has been done.
     
  15. geogymn

    geogymn Morel Connoisseur

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    Scope, Good report, thanks!
     
  16. audiophoenix

    audiophoenix Morel Connoisseur

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    Adults can process heavy metals better than children can so good call on getting soil tested before giving them to Grand Kids. My youngest had increased led levels from when my land lord scrapped the outside of the house and then the kids played outside. It was not a fun time.
     
  17. geogymn

    geogymn Morel Connoisseur

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    audio, How are your kids now?
     
  18. lynkage

    lynkage Morel Connoisseur

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    Twenty years ago,our son had increased lead levels.We figured out later that it was from him gnawing on the side of a beautiful antique crib that was passed down to us.The paint used on it at that time was probably guaranteed for a lifetime just like most new construction products.We grow fruits and veggies without using manmade chemicals and do just fine.Now we have to wait 30 years to eat a shroom from an old apple orchard.We're not as smart as we think we are.Sorry for the rant.Finishing this 6-pack and going to have dreams about morels, just like last night.Take care and Happy Hunting!!
     
  19. scope1

    scope1 Morel Enthusiast

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    I hear you LYNK. We drink our water and store our food in plastics and wonder why our kids just cant think straight . We tolerate companies like Monsanto that screw with our food and wonder why autism is at an all time high. We can go on and on BUT there is no time for this when the morels are poping up all over the place.
    I will keep everyone informed about the results of my soil tests.
     
  20. audiophoenix

    audiophoenix Morel Connoisseur

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    Well this happened over the summer last year. He's 20 months now, and is doing fine. The lead levels are now below the threshold of what they consider elevated now. I don't think it was prolonged exposure so it seems to have left his system quicker than if he was exposed for a long period of time.