These are morel mushrooms.
In some parts of the country, the parts that know about them, in a normal year they can sell for $35 to $75 a pound. And morel hunters quard their morel grounds with a serious secrecy. You'd think they were guarding a moonshine still in some cases.
They are not grown commercially. Why? Because the little rascals are totally and completely uncooperative.
They are said to grow in forests on slopes under particular kinds of trees...ash, elm, oak, and aspen. Early Spring they grow in open woods often on south facing slopes and later in the season deeper in the woods on north facing slopes.
Just about sunset today, I walked past the edge of my prairie garden, a flat area where milkweed is beginning to emerge, the closest trees are maple and they are a good way away. There in the mulch from last year and trailing into the lawn were the above.
Yes, they are morel mushrooms. No slope. None of the signature trees. And certainly not a forest.
Just goes to show the "best laid plans of mice and men..." don't mean squat to mushrooms.
Happy Morel Hunting...this is a good year to pay attention to the ground.