Submitted photo Five-year-old Jasi Butler poses with a very large Morel mushroom discovered Saturday in Upshur County.
BUCKHANNON — Warm, rainy days have made Morel mushroom hunters happy of late and none may be happier than 5-year-old Jasi Butler who discovered some very large specimens with her family.
The find happened Saturday as they were turkey hunting with a friend.
“We were coming off a mountain to go to another one and Jasi’s mom (Chrissy Lemasters) spotted what we thought were a couple big ones from the trail,” Jasi’s dad, Shon Butler, said.
“We stopped and there were about four or five that were bigger than I have ever seen in West Virginia,” he said. “One may be one of the biggest ones in the United States. That’s a find of a lifetime.”
The biggest Morel they found is 12 inches long and has a circumference of 15 inches with a weight of .9 pounds.
Jasi was very excited, according to her dad.
“She goes in the woods every day — especially with this quarantine going on — and hunts mushrooms or roams the countryside with us,” he said.
Morel mushroom season in West Virginia usually runs from the end of March through the middle of May and the family usually sells some and enjoys the rest. There are about seven different species of Morel mushrooms found in West Virginia.
“Normally, we try to sell of them but with the quarantine, none of the restaurants are really open to sell them to,” Butler said. “We have been giving them to friends and family and eating fancy Morel mushroom dinners about every evening.”
Even Jasi enjoys the flavor of Morel mushrooms.
“We let her try to figure it out for herself,” he said. “A couple evenings ago, we made some stuffed with cream cheese, crab and jalapeno peppers — like a homemade jalapeno popper — and she went crazy over those.”
Morel hunting has been something the family can do just like turkey hunting during this spring season.
Butler started a Facebook page “Raised Right with Jasi” that chronicles some of her adventures.
“She loves being outdoors and she has gotten to travel around to several states and do some neat things that most kids don’t get to do,” he said. “We try to show her out having fun doing what she is doing.”
But the Morel mushroom post has received by far the most hits.
By Sunday afternoon, it had roughly 1,300 shares and 200,000 views on Facebook and was still climbing. “It’s made the rounds through the Morel mushroom world,” Butler said. “There are several Morel mushroom pages out there. It has gotten shared to those pages and it just exploded from there.”
Finding Morels that big in West Virginia are a rare occurrence, according to Butler.
“Most of the time, the big ones in the United States come from Indiana, Missouri and western Kentucky,” Butler said. “We have had such a mild, wet winter and then a warm spring. These warm rainy days we have had recently have really made them pop up.”
“This year, we have been running into a lot of people morel hunting and there are not too many better ways to pass the time,” he said. “It’s been an awesome mushroom year and there is enough for everyone to go around.”