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      Valley's Newest Cash Crop: Wild Mushrooms

      They're considered weeds to most farmers but some people are willing to face trespassing charges to pick wild mushrooms in Valley vineyards.{}{}Fresno County Sheriff's Deputies detained three people late Thursday morning picking wild mushrooms{}about ten miles west of Selma.{}

      The farmer called{}the Sheriff's Office to complain about the trespassers but he was also worried because the mushrooms had been sprayed with an herbicide to kill all the weeds in his vineyard.{}

      Deputy Karen Haynes says{}Thursday makes her fourth call{}involving people picking mushrooms on farm property without permission. "Their roots are in the ground.{} They just stick out of the ground.{} They just go through and pick them up."

      Deputy Haynes says people who harvest the wild mushrooms sell them to local fruit stands.{} The cone shaped mushrooms are{}Morels.{} They are fragile, have a light woodsy flavor, are highly perishable and tend to be pricey.{} A pound of fresh morel mushrooms{}sell for $32.99 on an Internet web site.

      In Thursday's case the grower refused to press charges so two of the three people caught were released.{} An unidentified woman was taken into custody and booked for possession of drug paraphernalia.{} Her car was towed{}and the two men had to walk{}back to town.{}{}{}