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Hunting Morel Mushrooms

Hunting Morel Mushrooms Is Like Looking for New Product Ideas by Carrie Jeske

What’s a Morel Mushroom?

Morel Mushrooms and Carrie Jeske Review Products

Morels are prized by gourmet cooks, particularly in French cuisine. However, in the United States, they are preferred fried.  Due to difficulties in cultivation, commercial harvesting of wild morels has become a multimillion-dollar industry in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, in particular North America, Turkey, China, the Himalayas, India, and Pakistan, where these highly prized fungi are found in abundance.   They sell online and at Farmers Markets for about $40 per small carton in Kansas City.   Scientists have not discovered a mass production method for growing morels so finding them wild can be a goldmine.  Morchella, the true morels, is a genus of edible sac fungi.  These distinctive fungi have a honeycomb appearance, due to the network of ridges with pits composing their cap.

In Kansas City, the morels spring up only for two weeks sometime in April or May.  Hunting morels is an art and a science. Morel hunters are highly protective of their sources and methods though YouTube is a helpful place to get started.   Stewart and Carrie Jeske are avid hunters with many patches secretly known only to GPS, on public lands.   They consider hunting a fun personal adventure so won’t take money for morels.   Instead, their friends and family are often blessed with “a mess of morels” as a surprise.  They’ve been known to ship overnight when the situation requires it!

Cover A LOT of Ground or Get Lucky #Blessed.

Most of the time, success is hard work.  It takes persistence and dedication.   It’s takes simply not accepting failure or redefining it.  Not every product will succeed nor will every piece of land produce morel mushrooms.   Sometimes it’s just about not giving up.   Getting up every morning and walking more land or wading through new product submissions or online reviews.   Till at last, the payoff.

Sometimes people get lucky or #blessed.   I heard of story of a kid who went behind the woods at her school and found 28 morel mushrooms in under 30 minutes.  That’s golden.   I know a man who glanced at a direct mail catalogue in Australia and spotted the Magic Mesh.  He’s a millionaire.


Carrie Jeske Reviews Cover The Ground

Stewart and Carrie Jeske Review how to develop an eye

Develop an Eye

Part of success is knowing what to look for.  Developing an eye takes experience.  You see products come and products go.  Years go by.  In new product reviews, it’s more about knowing what hasn’t worked in the past, then knowing what will work in the present.

The same is true for mushrooms.  There are many varieties to identify and poisonous false morels that lead to sickness.   Making mistakes is costly.

The Morels blend into their environments so it’s hard to see them through all the bushes, grass and trees.   Once a patch is found, it generally continues to produce mushrooms for a few years so knowing where to look is a big advantage.

Notice What’s Around You

Stay focused.  So much of finding morels (and new products) is to not forget that’s the goal.  Whenever I go into a retail store, I evaluate product lines and brands.   I turn over the packaging and consider the manufacture.  I take pictures and post on the Inventive Ideas Facebook page.  I’m alert.    When I travel, I scan magazines for start-up product company ads or strategic alliances.  I scout the travel stores.   I notice unusual or new products at boutiques or owner/operator local retailers.

That’s how morel mushrooms are found too.  It’s important not to get distracted by the deer tracks, turkey beds or threat of snakes.  Notice what’s around you.  We’re looking for moist ground with leaves or sticks on it and a heavy tree canopy for shade.  Piles of dying wood are great places for the big yellows to pop up.

Simply keep eyes focused on the ground, scanning the terrain for the illusive morel.

carrie jeske payoff

When It’s Dry, Keep Walking

Because of intermittent rain the lands in our area are vastly different. Don’t waste time in a dry place. True of life too, but sometimes just keep walking till you’re out of the woods!   Don’t give up.  Seasons change.  Looking for As Seen On TV products is the same.  There are times it’s dry and you don’t find anything worth investing in.  It’s dry.  Then suddenly you arrive at the spot where the winner emerges.  The next big As Seen On TV winner could, literally, be just around the corner. Keep moving forward and don’t give up.  When it’s dry, keep walking.

Carry A Big Stick

Having the right equipment is important to any endeavor.  In mushroom hunting, a good walking stick is very helpful.   It provides extra support of rocky ground and slopes but also is a great tool for moving leaves, scrubs and branches.

With product hunting, it’s about gaining peoples trust so they share their product ideas and being able to gently tell them “no thanks” when they aren’t a fit.

The usual phrasing “speak softly and carry a big stick” was apparently invented by Theodore Roosevelt in 1900.  Basically, he meant that one should be a gentleman and avoid quarrels, but stand up for one’s rights.  He believed that was best done by speaking gently while showing that picking a fight isn’t smart.  The way I say it is “Have real credibility and be nice!”   Often, telling someone their idea won’t work is a challenge.  Other times, encouraging and inventor to TAKE THE DEAL, is a gift.

Wear Boots

Have you heard the joke about what a Ph.D. stands for?  Piled High and Deeper.  Inventors are prone to over embellish the attributes of their products so wearing boots is equally important in mushroom hunting and product reviews.   Enough said.

Carrie Jeske Review - Big Stick Resting

Rest When You’re Tired

Working hard is hard work.  It’s important to take time for yourself and enjoy vacations or “staycations”.   Rest when tired.  I’ve walked in the woods so far my bones hurt.

Similarly, I review 30-50 new product ideas a day much of the time.   Videos longer then 2 minutes become draining and when people don’t get to the product and it’s benefits fast, interest lags.

In the woods, I may just shut my eyes on a tree hammock.  On the computer, sometimes just closing the eyes with a 5-minute power nap does the trick.   After all, if it were easy, everyone would do it.   Working in a field that’s demanding and difficult makes finding the payoff feel more special.

Savor the Payoff

carrie jeske payoff

Carrie Jeske product payoff

After hours in the woods with nothing, we stumble upon this little patch of morels that boasts more then 22 shrooms.   Now that’s a “Wow” factor!    Suddenly, we aren’t’ tired anymore.  We’re fresh, excited, energized.

stewart and carrie jeske give

Be Generous

Share the wealth.  Generosity is a gift to the giver and much as the recipient.  Seeing the look in people’s eyes when you offer what they did not expect, earn or deserve is a joy.

Stewart and I have our parents over for breakfast.  We serve special omelets and fried Morels, swapping stories from the hunt and laughing together.

Working in teams is so much more rewarding for me.

The same is true of business.   My team of product scouts work hard, some submitting product after product that gets rejected with a sentence or two.  They are dedicated, loyal and hard working.   I care about them and their families.   I want the payoff to come as a team.

It’s what I expect from my team at Will It Launch too.   I expect to be paid on time and fairly.  People don’t want to have to hunt down money or exercise audit rights.   In the end, most of us want to enjoy and trust the people around us at work and play.

Generosity is the key.  Be to others what you want to receive for yourself.  The laws of reaping and sowing are a time-tested truth.  If you want beans, don’t plant corn.   If you want to find morel mushrooms or new product inventions, start looking, gain experience and don’t give up.

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Carrie Jeske

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Carrie Jeske reviews product inventions from young inventors and young entrepreneurs enrolled in Kansas City Community College. Join the class for the afternoon and learn how to make prototypes, demo videos and pitch new product ideas for retail and TV.