Record year for French mushrooms due to heat and rain

Mushrooms are in abundance this year but pickers are warned to be careful before eating

Wild mushrooms are having a record, early year in France after a “catastrophic season” last summer.

It had been feared that this year’s heatwave could have damaged the crop, but the combination of hot temperatures plus rainfall from frequent storms has instead proven ideal.

Mushrooms of all kinds are now appearing in large quantities, especially near Nice and the surrounding departments.

Mushroom collectors have spotted varieties including chanterelles, ceps (cèpes, also known as porcini) and red pines; all of which have appeared earlier than usual in the season.

A mushroom expert told local newspaper Nice Matin: “This summer, there were storms nearly every day, and the rest of the time it was impossibly hot; ideal conditions.”

The plants can grow extremely quickly, and appear within days.

The increase means that market prices have dropped considerably. Last year, ceps were going for €40 per kilo, and chanterelles at €30.

Now, local reports say that markets have been selling ceps for as little as €22 per kilo.

Despite the high growth, experts have also warned amateurs to be careful when picking mushrooms, and to never eat any that you are not entirely sure are safe.

If you are not sure, do not eat any mushrooms you have picked, and instead take them to a pharmacy. French pharmacies are typically able to identify whether your pick is safe.

Pickers are also advised not to use plastic bags to carry mushrooms in while you pick - instead using a large basket or similar instead - as the plastic can make the plants more toxic.

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