Rain drives down prices of mushrooms and blueberries

Due to abundant rainfall, the prices of blueberries and chanterelle (also known as girolle) mushrooms have become very low, reported Latvian Radio Wednesday. 

While in most countries this would not be big news, in mushroom-mad Latvia it's a matter of national concern.

At the Rīga Central Market, chanterelles picked in Latvian forests are fetching €4 a kilogram, and a kilogram of blueberries costs about €3. Penny buns (cep mushrooms) are only rarely seen on the stands.

"There were some penny buns [in the forests]. Now there aren't anymore, but there should be some in August," said Rūta, a mushroom seller from Ventspils. This year has not been particularly abundant in any mushroom except chanterelles.

"Blueberries aren't very expensive this year, maybe because there's an abundance of blueberries in other countries as well," said Rūta.

She said that she doesn't sell what she's picked up as this way one can earn more than selling to wholesalers. 

Another seller, Valdis, agrees.

"The price difference is just too big," he said. According to Valdis, wholesalers buy chanterelles for €1.20 a kilogram and blueberries for €0.95 a kilogram. 

Like buying water

Kārlis Kantors, board member of the Ice Berry company specializing in selling frozen berries and mushrooms, said that the company recently cut the buying price from €2.50 to €1.30 a kilogram for chanterelles.

"Due to heavy rainfall the mushrooms are wet, and no one wants to pay extra for the water," he said.

He also said that good blueberry harvests in Ukraine and Belarus have driven down prices across Europe.

The low prices also scare away would-be berry pickers who are used to getting more buck for their berry.

At this time of year it is a common sight to see any likely patches of forest packed with pickers. As well as providing a useful extra source of income for pensioners (who are acknowledged as the greatest mushroomers of all) many people pick simply for the pleasure of being in the forest with the promise of a tasty treat or two at the end of the day. 

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