Photo by Aberration Films LTD/Science Photo Library

The morel of the story is some cops don't know their mushrooms

Tim Nelson
May 16, 2018

With spring in full bloom, it’s an excellent time of year to get outside and start scanning the ground for truffles and all manner of earthly delights. If you happen to come across any morel mushrooms, a rare fungi sometimes found in French cuisine, consider yourself lucky. Until the cops come knocking on your door, that is.

It sounds odd, but that’s exactly what happened to John Garrison and his girlfriend Hope Deery earlier this month. According to a Facebook post, the two Maryland-based mushroom hunters had been out foraging in Darlington, walking away with a massive haul of morels. Shortly after the couple finished a meal of morels sauteed in brown sugar and cinnamon at Garrison’s Frostburg State University residence hall, an intrepid police officer and an RA showed up in an effort to stop what they must have thought was some sort of wild psychedelic gathering.

In Garrison’s Instagram post recounting his brush with the law, the wildlife biology student at Frostburg and research assistant with the Susquehannock Wildlife Society had to explain to a police officer that yes, there are other kinds of mushrooms you can eat that won’t make listening to Phish more interesting. “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,” his caption reads.

Garrison and Deery even tried to fish morel scraps out of the trash to prove that they weren’t tripping their faces off, but the responding officer remained convinced he was on the verge of shutting down a mild-mannered drug ring. Finally, a second officer arrived on the scene and was able to properly identify the morels and determine that, while delicious, they’re certainly not “magical” mushrooms. Once Garrison and Derry’s IDs were checked, they were left to digest what had happened without further incident.

It’s unclear who saw Garrison’s facebook post and narced on him for tracking down a rare and tasty mushroom that can only be cultivated in the wild and harvested by hand. And there’s no word from his post on what sauteing a rare mushroom in cinnamon and brown sugar actually tastes like. Regardless, if you want to keep clueless cops from threatening to throw the book at you, your best bet is to keep your mushrooms off of social media—or just look for ramps instead.


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