Windfalls: The Morel Of the Story

The Morel Of the Story

Sometimes natural disaster has a sunny side. Last summer raging fires consumed 98,000 acres of spruce around Tok in the Alaskan interior. But this year villagers are harvesting a bumper crop of morels, wild mushrooms springing up with abandon on the charred forest floor. The delicacy, which sells in specialty shops for $14 a pound fresh and as much as $200 a pound dried, is in great demand in tony restaurants. When Tok folk learned they could make as much as $20 an hour gathering morels for wholesale buyers from Seattle and Vancouver, "they went crazy," says Aaron Schutt, 18, a...

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