Picking ceps is rather rare at the moment in our department of Lot-et-Garonne. Clearly, there is a lack of water to trigger a sprout…
A few cars parked on the side of the roads. Many mushroom pickers indulge their passion, walking for miles to flush out mushrooms hidden under foliage or tall grass. Not with great success currently. They often come back empty-handed. Not to say all the time. “For the moment, nothing at all,” says Patrice, an unconditional lover of porcini mushrooms. Rare are the corners in Lot-et-Garonne where the porcini mushrooms have pointed their hats. Some have had the pleasure of picking a few specimens near the Campet forest in Durance or even towards Le Mas-d’Agenais. There were also a few in the north, especially in Fumélois or even near Lacapelle-Biron. Really limited pickings far from being abundant as in past years. And unlike other regions of New Aquitaine where ceps are picked in large numbers, especially in Béarn or the Basque Country.
Not ideal weather
This situation is really related to the weather. It’s too hot to hope to find mushrooms. “These are not ideal conditions for the growth of mushrooms”, continues the passionate mycologist, “moreover, the only places where it has been found are those which have benefited from thunderstorms”. Clearly, there is a severe lack of water. Since the beginning of October, it has not even fallen 10 mm, really too little to trigger a shoot. “It would take good showers and more than 50 mm to have a shoot”, he continues, “it’s the only condition, it’s the trigger”. He details the process a little more: “If it rains, it will cause a thermal shock with the ground which is very hot and this will trigger a flare-up”.
Don’t go picking the day after a good downpour. “You have to wait about ten days after a good downpour to find mushrooms”, reveals Patrice. You have to be patient before you find what you’re looking for and taste them simply browned in a little duck fat with garlic or parsley. Or finely cut into a carpaccio seasoned with a drizzle of olive oil, a delicate pinch of fleur de sel and a little balsamic.
A very regulated picking of porcini mushrooms
A Neracais lover of porcini mushrooms, he also recalls “great vigilance” so as not to pick up indigestible mushrooms. There are a few that may cause you some trouble, such as the satan boletus. He is recognizable by his red foot. The bitter boletus is also a dangerous mushroom. “It is very bitter and inedible.”
Finally, it is important to remember again and again that harvesting is highly regulated by the Forest Code and the Environment Code. It is forbidden to pick mushrooms on private land without the permission of the owner. There are also rules to follow in terms of collection. You cannot exceed 5 kg. Heavy fines are possible for offenders.
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