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‘Mushroom King’ coming to Council Grove Marina in April


[Release date]2019-03-11
[Core hints]Its almost time for Mushroom Madness to hit in northeast Kansas.Tom Weipert, known as The Mushroom King, will be on hand
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It’s almost time for Mushroom Madness to hit in northeast Kansas.
 
Tom Weipert, known as “The Mushroom King,” will be on hand beginning at 8:30 a.m. April 6 at the Council Grove Marina for an educational seminar and field trip. The event is the first of several upcoming events this season at the marina, located at 1025 Lake Road in the Neosho Park Recreation Area at Council Grove Lake.
 
“We’re getting a lot of people who are saying, ‘Oh, I want to be there,’ ” said Ginger Cansler-Taunton, who operates the marina. “It’s going to be a good event, I think.”
 
Weipert recently was on hand at the Topeka Boat and Outdoor Show to give out advice about the sport of mushroom hunting. He said his seminar in Council Grove will focus on morels, false morels and tree identification.
 
“People at my presentations tell me they ‘learned something they never thought about before,’ ” Weipert told The Topeka Capital-Journal in January. “I believe I have a connection to nature and a fun, entertaining way to share my gift with others.”
 
Breakfast will be served at 9 a.m., featuring biscuits and gravy and eggs mixed with mushrooms supplied by Weipert. He will give an educational seminar on mushroom hunting. Following the seminar, Weipert and KVOE radio host Phil Taunton will lead the group on a morel mushroom hunt at the lake.
 
“We have found them down at the lake as late as May 12,” said Phil Taunton, who also is Ginger Cansler-Taunton’s husband. “I did a hunter’s ed class over at Santa Fe Trail and a lady there, I had here teach survival, that was May 4, and she brought a bunch of morels. So I went down to the lake and I found them right there on my cabin lot. We found a few here and there, and man, I’d hunted all over that land, hill and dale, and not found anything, only to find a bunch of them within a hundred yards of that cabin.
 
“They ran a fiber-optic deal there and sorta dug down and messed up the ground, and you can’t believe the couple or three years of the morel mushroom hunting that we had. I mean, it was just crazy, they were everywhere. I found 39 nice ones right on my lake lot that, before this one year, I never did see them, but this one year I found 39 of them.”
 
During the event, Weipert will share recipes and sell samples of his famous Morel Mushroom Soup Mix.
 
“I had never even heard of morel mushrooms until I moved up here,” said Cansler-Taunton, a native Texan. “I have tried his soup mix and I tell you what, I will never pass up a chance to buy that mix from him. It is so good.”
 
He also is introducing a new fish batter made with mushrooms.
 
“As a chef, I am always thinking of new and unusual ways to make food tastier,” Weipert said Friday. “By nature and the nurture of my culinary experiences, crushed mushrooms are often used as a light breading on a variety of foods. Some kitchens I’ve been in used crushed morel mushrooms to bread anything from scallops to shrimp to hamburgers. So I got to thinking about what could make a good coating for fish, especially the fishier-tasting fish. I experimented with my basic seasoned flour mixture and discovered it actually sweetened the flavor of the fish. It browns to a lovely caramelized finish and has a real staying power on fish of any kind.
 
“No doubt it is the perfect morel flavor that complements the item being breaded. The next step in this would be to use other wild mushrooms in the coating. Because some wild edibles are actually difficult to eat in their dried form, crushing to a powder is ideal and can be utilized as a seasoning more easily in the powder form.”
 
Cost to participate in the event is $15, payable upon arrival. Pre-registration is helpful, but not necessary.
 
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