Mushroom Market Collapse

At some point last night I got to talking about collecting things, and how collection of things (specifically Baseball cards during the discussion) creates market values of said things.  I then proceed to comment that I was glad that the thing I like to collect really costs me little . . . because that thing is mushrooms, and I just go find them in the woods (or get given some on occasion.Thank you Alan, for the lovely Shiitakes you gave me yesterday).  I’m sure I collect other stuff too, I have a ton of books, but my point was that my hobby of mushroom foraging has very little to do with monetary transactions (mostly gas for the car, and groceries to cook edible mushrooms with.  Sometimes a meal during a foraging day).

But mushroom gathering is a monetary enterprise for some.  Obviously cultivators want to grow and sell things like mushrooms, but some people forage with the intent of making money too. I’ve thought a  about it myself at times, but mostly I just like using edibles for myself (not to mention SC is one of only three states that prohibits the direct selling of foraged mushrooms.  So legal reasons).  I have managed to get some delicious meals out of foraging (Thank you Alan, for the amazing multi-course morel meal this past spring).  But really, again, foraging is just for me.

But for some folks its been a lifestyle and an income.  So what happens when the market for an oft considered rare and highly desirable mushroom, the Matsutake, collapses? Nothing much good, as you can read in this Chemult Journal article, via The New York Times.

It’s a fascinating little read, and kind of sad too.  But also, it shows that even those things that I think of as relatively free of the ebb and tide of market forces, can be greatly effected by them.

Food for thought.  Also, food for your plate, if you find some yummy mushrooms.

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~ by Nathaniel on October 3, 2013.

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