Wild Edible Mushrooms Misuse (abuse)
This post is not about poisoning from the mushrooms as you might have thought after reading the title. It’s about what human civilization is doing with treasures and gifts granted us by Nature. I am not a member of Green Peace or any other organization protecting the environment. I’m a mushroom lover who forages in forests for many years and knows the value of edibles given to us by Nature.
I’m surfing through internet and I see many posts by successful wild mushroom hunters who like to show off. As a great fan and forager-lover of mushrooms I like to show my successful harvest myself. However, I believe there is a limit crossing which the “successful harvest” can be called the “outraged harvest”.
Many people drag tons of wild mushrooms out of woods, and I really mean tons. It’s not just 1-2 wicker baskets for family per week. It’s much, much, much more – like every weekend a car trunk full of collected mushrooms.
I can hardly believe that a normal person really needs this amount of mushrooms to feed himself and his family. And I hardly believe that one is capable of eating such amounts (which means eating mushrooms for breakfast, lunch and dinner). I can’t believe that in our high-tech era with advanced agriculture there is not enough food and those foragers are starving to death (unless one lives in African country or war zone).
The preservation of such huge amounts of mushrooms for later use would mean eating them preserved on a regular basis until the next season. However, such a shift in the diet with dominance of one food over another for a long period of time drains the balance needed to keep our body healthy.
If the tons of collected mushrooms are intended for sale it does not make anyone good either because too much time will pass until the wild mushrooms from woods will get to the table. The selling on farmers market directly to customer is not always easy, so many mushrooms (e.g. excessive amounts) are being preserved (like dried or frozen) for few years. However, it is known that after about a year the mushrooms loose their quality – there is no so strong aroma any more, they become too dry (in spite of the proper storage conditions which may be guaranteed by professional equipment only) and loose their taste.
In case the selling is done via the centralized distributor, it takes time to collect the mushroom at collection agencies, to sort and package the mushrooms, to distribute them to the shops and to stimulate the customer’s interest to buy them. Very often the mushrooms are staying on the shops shelves without any great attention for several days waiting for their final sigh. They are dying in loneliness. They are not needed. They are abused and thrown away. We shall remember, they are living creatures and gifts of our planet, our nature. Why we don’t care about such valuable gifts?! That’s too cynical and irresponsible to care about our own appetites only. The commercial interest shall not prevail.
I believe the human being is more creative than that and can do better for own business than just use free gifts of nature for own wealth. Sadly, in our so highly-developed and open-minded society it became normal to earn money on everything what one can get for free.
P.S. For those who might think that I write this out of jealousy I’d like to ensure you that we have enough wild mushrooms of our own and we care about nature (we use just one mushroom basket for collecting wild edible mushrooms). In one of my articles “How much wild mushrooms to preserve?” I show how to calculate how much of fresh mushrooms is needed by a family of 2 adults.
P.P.S. Yes, I am aware that mushrooms spores are distributed better when we collect the mushrooms (spores are distributed with help of wind) and carry some spores throughout the forest on our boots. However, that argument does not justify the avarice, greed and cruelness towards the nature.