Freaky fungus that resembles Lower Peninsula on sale for $10K
Lance Miller estimates he’s picked hundreds of thousands of morel mushrooms, but last week the Manistee man ran across what he considers a once-in-a-lifetime find: One shaped like Michigan’s Lower Pennisula.
As a joke, he put the mushroom for sale on eBay for $10,000. It’s listed as “new condition” with no returns accepted.
“If somebody did offer me $10,000, I would deliver it myself,” he said. “It’s a talking piece and bragging rights in the mushroom world.”
Someone’s got 24 days and 20 hours left, as of Monday night.
Miller said he plans to have the mushroom preserved. For now, it sits in a freezer.
He discovered the funny-looking fungus last week after taking mushrooms he picked to his mother’s store in Manistee.
“I didn’t realize what it was until the next day,” he said. “I was like, holy smokes, look at this thing. Everyone was just baffled.”
The honeycomb-like mushroom measures 2.5 inches tall and 1.5 inches wide. Miller has found large mushrooms before, measuring 9 inches tall, but those don’t compare to his Michigan find.
“This was the best find of my life,” he said.
April to June is the best time to hunt for morels. Northern Michigan is one of the most bountiful locations in the country, expert say. To help mushroom hunters, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources created an interactive map showing burn sites, where morels are likely to grow.
Some say the edible mushrooms, considered a delicacy, have a nutty taste and meaty texture.
Jerry Watson, first vice president of the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club, said the shape of Miller’s mushroom looks authentic. Watson said a twig may have gotten caught in the mushroom as it grew, giving way to the familiar mitten shape.
“If something is interrupting the mushroom emerging from the ground, it could alter the shape like that,” he said. “I’ve never seen a mushroom the shape of Michigan. It’s kind of cool.”
Miller said he has his usual hunting spots and likes to check old apple trees, cherry trees and dying ash trees.
Miller was out hunting again Monday with his wife, brother-in-law, stepson and son.
“I’m out looking for the Upper Peninsula,” he said.