dwheeler at teleport.com dwheeler at teleport.com
Fri Apr 17 23:45:28 EST 1998

In article <3537854D.438854D6 at olympus.net>,
  Mike Hagen <mhagen at olympus.net> wrote:
> Hmmmm. What's a commiseration conclave?  I thought I was at a forest
> service love fest...  Us private folk were outnumbered 20 to 1, easy.
Evidently some forest service people have finally realized some SFPs have
value, which they can then issue permits for, even though the cost of those
permits is going to the US general fund and not back to the FS. Hmmmm

> Had a good talk with Dave Pilz and heard much about fungi:
> chanterelles, exports, matsutake camps, botanticals, you name it. It
> was normal to hear apparantly contradictory statements, in the same
> presentation, by the same person. Such as: the bulk floral and
> botanical brush trade is worth $50 million in western Montana. But
> local busines's are going broke because of the depressed prices.
> However, Montana does not regulate it, so it doesn't really know. Most
> of it is shipped to Wa and OR so it's counted with those states crops.
Guess you haven't heard of Microsoft vs. Apple, huh? ;)

> The problem boils down to North American wages vs. the rest of the
> worlds. If the son of Nafta passes,  the (mostly German) botanical
> companies will be able to set up shop in Canada and the US and "level
> the playing field" some more.  The niche that local botanical
> suppliers have is quality of product and timing. Our growing season
> runs a little earlier that the competition.
This will make little difference when they don't know where the product is
available from. Something that the government here doesn't know either. And
the wildcrafters are keeping silent because many are harvesting from private
land and don't want private foresters to know either.

> > > 4) successful SFP businesses need a value added factor (engineering or
> > > processing) to make it. Bulk sales are what the international
> > > companies excel at.
> >
> > Perhaps not engineering or processing. Certainly, most of the markets need
> > tremendously more advertising. Most people in the US still don't know any of
> > the SFP's or NTFP's.
> That too.  The small diameter timber products, ie thinning materials,
> are engineered into high quality structural beams and panels.  The
> Juniper and mesquite wood went into decorative panels and really wild
> looking furniture and art.  Botanicals pay off better when you do
> something with them, other than just passing the bales along.
> Tinctures, teas, dog pillows, soap, preserved floral arrangements, it
> was all being pushed by some hopeful.

I think that some can be processed into more productive goods. One of the
easiest is to create a picture on a Ganoderma applanatum (Artist's Conk), then
sell it as a natural forest painting. Wish I knew where to sell some of
them...I have learned to grow them, but don't have any artists willing to pay
to haul them out of the forest.

> >
> > > 5) With the exception of a few special products, particularly
> > > matsutake, truffles and some pharmaceuticals, nobody is getting rich
> > > at this or even making much of a living.
> >
> > I think I smell a smoke screen here.
> Could have been infernal revenue present, undercover.

A lot of the mushroom industry is underground. It affects fixed costs.

> >
> >
> > It *definately* is not the first time. Dr. William Dennison sponsored a
> > similar meeting in 1988. Similar conferences have been held at Hillsboro,
> > Portland, Corvallis and Vancouver in the 10 years since. From my experience
> > attending these, they tend to be mostly commissuration conclaves.
> > >
> >Those present thought the mix of interest groups was representative of those really doing it (although a bit heavy on the USFS presence). Other meetings were certainly good ones too. Just got mailed the proceedings from an earlier conference which are probably still available. If you're interested, email me.
> By the way, the morels are up.

I know. I harvested my first last Saturday.

The FS seems to want just about everything without paying for it. They wanted
members of the OMS to provide fruiting data to them, but also insisted on
members paying for permits to obtain the data. Then when some did find rather
rare (ROD list) fungi on a proposed clearcut near Mt. Hood, the FS
conveniently "misplaced" half the collections, and claims that David Piltz was
not competent to identify the others. These collections showed 7 species of
VERY RARE species -- species which may fruit only once every 20-25 years.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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