“Don’t know where to find – look at the land near the forest, boshes or small young trees”.
Viktor Antalovsky is from a family of mushroom pickers. But he doesn’t go to his native forests in Bobovyshche in Mukachevo Region. It takes a lot of time and you have to know the places. He practices trips to the remote villages instead.
– Two weeks ago they went to Rodnykova Huta in Svalyava region, and not for mushrooms – they took their mother-in-law to a doctor, – says Victor. – While she was waiting for the procedure, my wife and I decided to look in the undergrowth on the road. Once they went into the forest, found lots of boletus (brown cap boletus). They used sweaters and jackets to collect as many mushrooms as possible. The wife marinated at home 9 liters! The fact is that the locals do not consider boletus for good mushrooms that should be put in the basket. They only take whites (porcini) because they are bought by tourists and wholesalers who come to the village twice or thrice a week. Even Austrians with refrigerators are visited in Rodnykova Huta. They take out 800 kg per day!
If you want to go into the hinterland and pick mushrooms, take a course in the villages that are called “the end of geography”. Go there after warm rains. Be sure to ask the local where to go for mushrooms. The approximate direction will always be shown. My advice to beginner mushroom hunters: in an unfamiliar place, look into the undergrowth (poplar or birch) and young oaks. You won’t come back without mushrooms. There is one sign: Note that where the cloud rises above the forest – 70% that there will be mushrooms.
«You can earn a minimum of 15 thousand per season»
Vasil lives in Solochyn in Svalyava region. In their village, he says, only the lazy doesn’t earns on mushrooms. Despite his daily work, the man walks into the woods almost every day and benefits greatly. Just like him, almost all peasants do and earn good income.
– There’s a sanatorium and hotels in our village, so there are many tourists. This is a pledge of constant sales. Newcomers are happy to buy mushrooms. I bring mushrooms to hotels and my colleagues go with mushrooms to rooms, offering their goods. This summer is very mushroomy, so mushrooms are cheap. When the summer is dry and there’s no mushrooms in forest, so the prices go up significantly.
As a rule, summer mushrooms are cheap. In the fall, when mushrooms are clean (the summer ones are eaten by snails and worms), they are also more expensive. Therefore, many produce now: dry and marinated to sell more expensive in the winter.
In our village, people know mushroom places where you can pick up two or even three baskets. They need to go 5-6 km, but it’s worth it.
A good mushroom picker can earn several thousand euros a season without much effort. My friends, who set up a permanent sale of mushrooms to restaurants (local and even in Kyiv), have left the main job. Their profits in such a business are measured in the tens of thousands.
«I do not take truffles because my wife does not cook it»
People say about Petro: if there’s only one mushroom in the forest, he’ll find it. He can feel it. Petro goes to the forest every day, he knows special places, where you can find more than 100 porcinis. When he returns home it’s already dark.
There are about ten good mushroom pickers in the village, including Petro. Each has his own place. Most of the times, there grow porcini. But in some areas you can find special trophies like korolytsi (Amanita caesarea), kvochky (Grifola frondosa) of even truffles.
– At home on Christmas Eve, we cook a special sace from Amanita caesarea. It is delicious and so yellow, if someone had sprayed the dye. The Royal Mushroom, or Caesar’s Amanita, grows only on red clay soils. But these mushrooms can be harvested only at certain times – for two months, in July – August. When amanitas begin to appear, Caesar’s Amanitas disappear.
I also know two places in our forest where truffles grow. They are sought after by pigs. However, there is another landmark: Specific yellow flies are swarming above the ground where truffles grow in the ground. But I did not take that mushroom: we do not cook it at home, our restaurants will not pay a thousand dollars for. So I left it for the flies. Then I returned to look. They ate a mushroom, only the wall remained, like a liter cylindrical jar. In the neighboring forest several times I also saw several such places with a pillar of yellow flies.
Please check out our Mushroom tour in the Carpathians
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