Authorities will not curb Czechs’ passion for mushroom hunting

Mushroom picking and foraging forest fruits is something of a national pastime in Czechia. Indeed, Czechs harvested nearly 39,000 tonnes of forest fruits worth almost eight billion crowns last year, and six out of ten Czechs visited the forest at least once a month.

For most Czechs, the summer holidays are associated with spending time in the forest, collecting mushrooms and berries. They eat them fresh or store them for later, drying the mushrooms or pickling them in vinegar and processing the fruits into marmalades and jams.)

According to data from the Czech University of Agriculture, the amount of mushrooms collected last year increased by a quarter, while the amount of raspberries, blackberries or cranberries harvested fell by tens of percent.

Agriculture Minister Marek Výborný says it could be partly related to the bark-beetle calamity, but it is mostly due to the weather:

“In forests affected by bark beetle, certain types of berries can disappear for a certain period of time. But the key thing that plays a role here is the weather. Some years, you don’t get enough moisture or enough heat. However, if we look at the numbers and the trends over the long term, they remain more or less the same.”

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Authors: Ruth Fraňková, Tomáš Pancíř