Sarcodon (Hydnum) fuscoindicum collected commercially?

Mycophagy mycophagy at
Wed Feb 28 10:52:48 EST 1996

I am one of the main suppliers of wild mushrooms to the New Orleans fine
food market.
I was hunting wild edibles around the world for decades before that.
There are two things about the new wild mushroom industry in America that
I would like to say.
First of all, most pickers and brokers don't know the botanical names of
most of the wild mushrooms they pick. They know them well, and have a
great track record of getting their picks right. All of us who appreciate
fine food should applaud them.
However, having been one of the main suppliers of local wild mushrooms to
the market as well has been an insight into what occurs with some of the
pickers that pick only on occasion for the market.
First of all, they seem to have no concept of quality picking, and are
supported by chefs that are buying on the cheap.
I can get $13 @ lb. wholesale while they are gettin $5 simply because the
chefs know they get top quality from me, and will not have to have a
worker spend hours sorting out the crap from the good pick.
The problem is that people like myself have no input into the process for
regulating the trade.
The forest service is doing that, and they are learning on the fly.
What is needed is a realistic training and testing program for pickers and
brokers that would liscense them on a national level. I am sure that most
of the people making their living as pickers ($100 million @ year total
pick would be a conservative estimates) would be able to pass the test on
the basis of their experience. Liscenses could be issued for specific
mushrooms such as truffles, chantrelles or matsutake' as well for seasonal
The professional pickers know what is going on. I certainly do. But no one
in government knows anything. Hell, the Agaricus bispora is probable the
most toxic mushroom on the market (I have visited the growing factories) 
because of their spray programs.
In a sane society we would now ban their cultivation, since other, better
mushrooms may now be cultivated without all the toxins needed to grow
It is for this reason you end up with "Black Hedgehogs". Some local who
though he knew what he was doing, not a commercial picker, did the deed
you describe.
Let me close by sharing this with you.
We have good frutings of "Lobster" mushrooms here. The local mycologists
wouldn't touch them because they said that you cannot tell what you are
getting. It was the commercial market that made me aware that you can
safely eat the lobster mushroom. So while the local mycologists won't eat
them, me and my friend are both enjoying them in season and making money
off of selling them to the chefs.
I think the academic community has to decend from its Ivory Tower and get
down with the real experts on wild edible mushrooms. People like me.

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