Mushroom pickers hoping for continued mild weather as season starts early

09-07-2004

After a few hot summers in the Czech Republic, most people are wondering if we will see a sustained period of hot weather at all this year. But one section of the population - houbari, or mushroom pickers - are hoping for more mild, wet weather, and a much better crop than last year.

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK The Czechs are said to be the most enthusiastic mushroom pickers in the world, and most people could immediately identify many different types of mushroom, having learned about them from a young age.

The most 'hardcore' 'houbari' are already combing the country's forests, and report that the number of mushrooms to be found is much higher than usual for the time of year.

The picking season has begun a month earlier than usual, thanks to rain, changeable weather and relatively small differences between night and day temperatures. And some very rare types have been spotted.

But how many mushrooms are to be found depends on where you are in the country. The richest pickings at the moment are in north and west Bohemia, and in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands.

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK But it takes considerably more time to fill your basket if you are scouring the forests of central Bohemia, or the southern Sumava region. One man from Sumava told Czech Television mushrooms were growing there, but "far apart from each other".

Last year's long dry summer led to the worst season in living memory, with reports of some enthusiasts going mushrooming abroad, in places such as France and Croatia. This year, however, Czech mushroomers are hoping - if the weather doesn't change - for a long season and a bountiful crop.

And they may get their wish: weather forecasters do not expect a long dry period this summer. Bad news for the rest of us perhaps, but very welcome news for the Czech Republic's many 'houbari'.

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