NEWS » Porcini crisis
Bad news for Mushroom picking in Italy this year: this season will be the worst since the post war period!
According to Coldiretti, mushroom picking lovers can only hope in the arrival of bad weather to have a chance to find them. The record drought of the summer has caused a poor production of mushrooms. The record hot summer has already provoked a poor harvest and prices exceed 35 euros per kilo for the most prestigious porcini.
Due to the bad year, there is the risk that mushrooms imported from abroad will be sold as Italian mushrooms. For this reason, from this year there must be a label indicating the place of harvesting or cultivation. The European Commission has stated that compulsory indications must be present on the documents accompanying the product at all stages of marketing, and that the indication of the country of origin is always compulsory for all fresh fruit and vegetables, also for those exempt from compliance with the general marketing standard, such as truffles and spontaneous mushrooms.
The lack of mushrooms is not only a problem for the enthusiasts who love to go to forests on Sunday to pick them, but also for the whole economic chain: shops, restaurants, and the many local festivals along the entire Peninsula.
Mushrooms require humid conditions without torrential rains, a good amount of sunshine and a temperature of 18-20 degrees in the forest. As Coldiretti reported, mushroom picking in over 10 million hectares of wood covering almost 1/3 of the Italian area, it is not only a hobby that involves many holidaymakers in autumn, but it also has an economic function in support of inland woodland areas, where it represents an important income integration for thousands of "professionals" engaged in supplying local shops and restaurants with local products.
Mushrooms have also nutritional benefits: they’re fat-free, low-sodium, low-calorie, and cholesterol-free. They’re also rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Nutritional benefits vary depending on the type of mushroom. But overall, they are a good source of nutrients such as Antioxidants, Beta glucan, B vitamins, Copper, Potassium.
Mushrooms are being increasingly researched and used for their important health benefits with different varieties having different medicinal properties.
In particular, certain varieties of mushrooms have been shown to have potential in cancer prevention by protecting our cells against DNA damage but also inhibiting tumour formation. It has also been shown that they may be beneficial in the treatment of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s.