ROBERTSON CO. Tenn. – When spring flowers begin to bloom, it is Jerry Heathcock's signal to hit the woods.
"We're out here looking for these delicious mushrooms," Heathcock said Wednesday while searching the woods in Robertson County for Morel mushrooms.
"They are very elusive. You think you could see a big ‘ole mushroom but they just blend in with the leaves," said Heathcock, as he scanned the ground hoping to spot the edible white morel mushroom also known as "Nature's Easter Eggs" or "Inland Fish."
"Once you find a patch, you kind of walk a little fast until you get there and then you slow down and start looking real serious," Heathcock said of his technique.
It is the taste of the morel that keeps Heathcock and others coming back into the woods every year.
"Once you get a taste for them it is almost like a craving. We kind of feel like our year doesn't go right if we don't have mushrooms," he said.
According to Heathcock, the morel mushrooms are very good for you and contain a lot of protein.
He said if you're lucky enough to find a patch of morel mushrooms, most people keep the location a closely guarded secret.
"We usually don't tell where our mushroom patches are [located]," he said. "In fact, my nephew has begged me to will the location of my mushroom patches when I check out."
Finding the elusive morel is a matter of being in the woods at the right time.
"The problem is, if you wait too long, the turkeys get them or your neighbors get them," he said, adding morel mushrooms "come up real fast."
He said, "They come up over night. Some say they just ‘pop up.'"
Heathcock went home empty handed Wednesday morning but told News 2 he will be back in the woods hunting morels very soon.