It’s amateur foraging season, motherfuckers. That’s right: Fiddlehead ferns and elusive ramps are out there, just waiting to be snatched up by all you greedy little wild food “experts” that come out of the woodwork for the next month the way lax Catholics do at Christmas and Easter. But nothing proves to be more of a trophy hunt than the ephemeral morel mushroom.
On Friday, May 11, Hope Deery and John Garrison, a young couple from Darlington, Maryland, did a bit of their own seasonal foraging. Garrison, a research assistant at the Susquehannock Wildlife Society and a student of wildlife biology at Frostburg State University, posted pictures of their truly impressive haul to his personal Facebook page.
Then the cops showed up.
According to a post to Garrison's Instagram account, he says that just after the couple finished eating their presumably delicious morels, a knock came to what appears to be their dorm room or college residence hall, and standing at the door were a police officer and a resident advisor.
“[The police officer] asked us why we were eating mushrooms and posting about it online,” he wrote. “He thought he was on the biggest bust of his career thinking we were having a magic mushroom party before I explained to him that morels are a native choice edible mushroom similar to truffles. He wasn’t convinced.”
It wasn’t clear from the original post who reported Garrison and Deery.
In order to prove that the highly coveted morels were not, in fact, psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms and that he was not flaunting his drug stash to the whole of the internet, Garrison dug some scraps of the mushroom out of the trash. “I figured a police officer would know what illegal drugs looked like,” said Garrison. The cop wasn’t convinced until a second officer arrived to take a look, and confirmed that Garrison and Deery weren’t lying. While their stash was definitely worth a pretty penny, it was not psychedelic, and they weren’t likely to start a black market of wild edibles in Darlington. After checking Garrison and Deery’s IDs, the officers left.
Let’s back up here, though. That an appointed officer of the law working in any capacity with college students can’t tell a magic mushroom from an edible one is not even the most absurd part of this story. The true shock is that Garrison, in his initial post, says that he planned to sauté the rare fungi with brown sugar and cinnamon—not exactly the go-to preparation for something so delicate and difficult to get your hands on. As one commenter on Garrison’s post says, that is “a ruination and a waste of the delicate, subtle flavor of morels.”
MUNCHIES reached out to Garrison, Deery, and Frostburg State University’s Police Department for comment on the ordeal, but has not yet received a response as of press time.
While Garrison might not have to answer to the law for his mushrooms, he might have to answer to the Court of Foodie Internet Opinion, which is probably worse, frankly.