Money doesn’t grow on trees, but for Brown County charities, it does grow on mushrooms.
For 20 years, the Brown County Community Foundation and other volunteers have organized a morel mushroom sale in the Brown County IGA parking lot. Profits are divided between the mushroom seller’s charity and the charity the morel buyer chooses.
Since 1997, the sale has raised about $80,000 to $100,000 for local youth and community organizations, said Bob Kirlin, one of the organizers. Last year’s brought in $7,000 alone.
This year’s sale will take place Friday and Saturday, May 26 and 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the IGA lot. In addition to the sale space outside, the store allows the use of its refrigerators to store the 100-plus pounds of morels.
Howard Hughes, a foundation board member and “maven of mushrooms,” started the sale, Kirlin said. After Hughes’ death in December 2011, the event was renamed the Howard Hughes Memorial Morel Mushroom Sale.
“He really embraced mushrooms, for some reason. He always enjoyed keeping it a secret, where the mushrooms came from. A lot of people thought he went out and picked them,” Kirlin said.
He actually drove to an airport to pick them up, but that wasn’t the story most people got.
“But again, that was Howard,” Kirlin said.
Where is this year’s supply coming from?
“’Can’t tell ya,” said Kirlin, who now does the pickup.
Prices will be $50 per pound or $25 per half-pound. It’s recommended buyers get there Friday or early Saturday; in recent years, the supply has sold out by noon Saturday, Kirlin said.
Pre-orders are also being taken. Contact Shirley Boardman at email@example.com. Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted in advance and day of the sale.