Meet the Morels & Memories Team
Below is a list of some of the most wonderful, caring, and charitable people I have ever met in my entire life, who I like to refer to as “The Dreamteam”. They are entirely the reason the event has become what it has today. Without them, there would be no event.
Michael is Courtney’s wonderful, patient, and detail-oriented husband. He has been in charge of site preparation for the hunt for every year of the event. He can be seen at the event, cruising around on the gator, offering rides and water to people who need it, from hiking around at the hunt.
Ken is another Watertown-Mayer graduate. With his years of experience as a chef/food director, he has truly continued to perfect the demo piece of the event every year, by making it more and more elaborate. He has truly been a joy. So excited to see what he is going to put together for us this year!
“Locker Buddies” since the 6th grade, Michael and Courtney have been dreaming big, sharing experiences, and making memories for a very long time. He is the reason for the coordination of the food demo aspect of the event, and acts as Ken’s sous chef at the event.
Courtney’s sister, and wonderful auntie of Maximus. She coordinates the supplemental food/snack, drinks, and seating at the event, and misc. sister type of help 😊
Kari & Zachary Lasley
Courtney and Kari have known each other since 2007. They only had to work together for 2 weeks, to know they developed a connection, which has manifested into the most amazing and exciting friendship.
Kari is a huge reason the event is what it is today, having major roles in social media promotion/advertising and prize coordination. This year, Kari took on running the newly created Instagram & Facebook pages, which has saved Courtney’s sanity so she can focus on partnerships.
Zachary is Kari’s wonderful, talented husband, who donates his time to create and upkeep the most rockin’ event flyer, road signage, and the back by popular demand, morel mushroom pinata!
You will often see Kari & Zach assisting with check in/parking at the event
They also help Courtney party after the event too!
Annalisa is one of Courtney’s first friends. Since our rides to and from school on bus 8, our friendship has blossomed into what it is today. She has been an amazing resource advising on the community involvement aspect of the event. She can often be seen overseeing the kid related activities at the event. She is also taking a role in the silent auction this year.
Bryan is entirely the reason why I believe mushroom hunting brings people from opposite ends of the political spectrum together, and be able to work together incredibly effectively. Also another Watertown-Mayer alumni, Bryan is probably one of the most caring, generous, and empathetic people I have ever met. He can sniff out a Morel from a mile away, and as a chef himself in a past life, will have some great pointers on cooking with them.
Natalie & Justin Berry
Natalie is one of MJ’s families oldest and loved friends. After we learned how to mushroom hunt, we started going with them, until kids took our free time. Her and her husband Justin have helped at the event almost every year. We are so excited to have them again this year!
Josh & Noelle Taylor
Noelle and Courtney were neighbors growing up. We always talk about how we were so happy the day we saw them biking down the gravel road, and we realized we had kids our ages, as neighbors. Noelle and her husband Josh continue to show their neighborly love, by helping as guides at the event.
Nikki is a pretty big deal because she is actually the one who taught Courtney and M.J. how to morel mushroom hunt about 10 years ago. This pint size lady has a large wealth of knowledge on how to find these hidden, tasty treasures!
Julie & Casey Ratliff
Winners of the second year of the event, they had so much fun, they decided to come back as guides last year. Julie Ratliff Julie is a director for Macy’s Food Division based in Minnesota. She has been teaching, training and leading kitchens in the restaurant industry for over 30 years. Julie spends much of her free time hiking – foraging for mushrooms, leeks, etc. Julie has two grown kids, and another kid at home – her husband Casey. Casey is a Lead System Architect (computers). Casey has worked in the aviation industry as well as technology. He enjoys most things he can do with his hands (plumbing, electrical, mechanics, etc. and used to have a retail spot selling repurposed objects (camera lamps, lighting, furniture, etc.). Casey spends much of his free time snowmobiling in the winter and hiking and foraging with hist wife Julie. Casey cannot cook.
Connected through Julie & Casey via the event last year, we were so fortunate to meet Patrick. He is an avid forager, with knowledge that allows him to harvest different types of edible wild mushroom all year. He is also an amazing photographer, and will be seen guiding and snapping a few photos on the way as well this year! See an example of his amazing talent at the silent auction table this year!
Jason & Laura Schroeder
Jason and Laura are long time friends of Courtney’s that have shared their knowledge and talents as guides for the event, and creativity with some of the event t-shirts, that were introduced last year.
Shaun Bauer & Matt Swartzer
As there is always a party going on at the event for those who want to cut out from mushroom hunting early, Shaun (Courtney’s cousin), and Matt, another Watertown-Mayer bus 8 buddy and classmate of Courtney’s, are ready to server you a drink at the donation bar.