Our grandmothers were picking them up and so do We. The end of summer and Autumn it time for mushrooms. There are plenty of them in healthy Pomeranian forests – starting with an ordinary chanterelle, boletus and mycelium, up to “siedzun sosnowy” , which became very popular on French tables. Picking up the mushrooms is part of our Polish culture, entertainment and very good way of spending free time.
In the healthy forests of Pomorskie we will find different kinds of them, from the well-known chanterelles, to the less obvious ones. Mushroom foraging is an element of Polish culture, a pastime and at the same time, a unique form of active leisure.
Starting with an ordinary chanterelle, boletus and mycelium, up to “siedzun sosnowy”, which became very popular on French tables. Picking up the mushrooms is part of our Polish culture, entertainment and very good way of spending free time.
Mushrooms are delicious. They can be the base of a dish (mushroom soup), but they also can be a fantastic complement to roast meat, for example. Forests of Pomorskie are full of mushrooms in autumn. Wioska Runa Leśnego, where you can gather mushrooms, as well as other fruits of the forest, operates in Borkowo Lęborskie in Pobrzeże Kaszubskie (the coastal part of Kaszuby) region. One of the creators of this “village” and one of the initiators of the newly-founded Thematic Village Association (Stowarzyszenie Wsi Tematycznych) is Marzena Górnisiewicz. A specially constructed room for drying mushrooms allows her to dry up to 280 pieces at once, and she gathers mushrooms several times a day. – Because I like – she laughs. Marzena Górnisiewicz knows everything about mushrooms, she holds the title of mushroom classifier, which allows her to certify mushrooms and supply them to the best regional restaurants.
What kinds of mushrooms can be found in local forests?
Marzena Górnisikiewicz: There are plenty of them! First of all boletus which recently I picked about 8 kg! My basket was so heavy that on the way back home I cried. Red boletus mushroom, honey agaric, parasol mushroom, porcino, red pine mushroom, butter mushrooms both brown and yellow, but I recommend the brown ones because it is easier to peel them… The forest star is “Szmaciak pospolity”, called the “goat beard”. It used to be under strict protection but now You can pick it up. It is the most expensive mushroom, just after the truffle in France. This season was very good for those who love picking up mushrooms. The first chanterelle were already in May. When there’s full moon boletus and porcino can be found. The best time for mushrooms is end of August.
Do our region’s air and soil act in favour of mushrooms?
Absolutely! I have tasted mushrooms from different parts of Poland, but I believe that the flavours of those from Pomorskie are the most pronounced. The soil is more healthy here, which gives mushrooms more vivid colours and better flavours. Air in Pomorskie is more humid, which gives the chance for mushrooms to grow even when the summers are dry. A bit of morning dew is enough for mushrooms to appear. Soil is especially fertile in the area of Borkowo Lęborskie or Strzeszewo, which provides excellent conditions for mycelium to develop.
Is Pomeranian air and its soil good for mushrooms?
Of course it is! I have tried mushrooms from different Polish regions and I have a feeling those from Pomerania have more intensive taste. We have very healthy soil here, due to that our mushrooms have nicer colour and better taste, and taste, as You know, gives our dishes its intensity. Pomorskie air in moisture and gives the mushrooms chance to grow even when the dry summer. The morning dew is enough for the mushroom to grow. Especially, around Borkowo Lęborskie or Strzeszewo the soil is very fertile and the mycelium has good growing conditions.
Mushrooms are not specially demanding when growing conditions are concerned, but they have specific places they prefer and they don’t grow everywhere…
Mushrooms attach to some places. The “goat beard” grow only around pine and spruce trees. The polypore for example prefers growing on tree branches. Sue to that it can be found only in pine forests, Since few years’ time there are a lot of boletus called “healther” or “slender”. It is a very expansive mushroom which can be found along the sea shore from Lubiatowo through Kopalino to Karwia. There is so much of it that people fill all their car trunks with it.
It grows in heather, so when people are walking around just the top of its head is visible. This kind of boletus is very firm so it is good to be marinated. You need to pick up the mushrooms by hands nevertheless, You have to be very humble to them. Sometimes, it happens that sever kinds of mushrooms grow next to each other: good and poisonous, like chanterelle and “orange foxy” mushrooms. They are very alike, so it is difficult to say which is which. So, if You are not sure, never pick them up.
You mainly dry Your mushrooms?
I like both, fresh and dried. The most important is that mushrooms around Borkowo Lęborskie are healthy and ecological, without any preservatives and they come from Pomeranian land. Honey agaric are perfect to guts soup. Delicious! What is more honey agaric make dishes more intense and thick. Chefs are shattering the mushrooms and making flour out of them.
Chanterelle are ideal for scramble eggs but also for pizza. And the “goat beard” is very popular in France, I mentioned that before. It is ideal to be marinated, in a guts soup or scrambled eggs. We add mushrooms also to “bigos”, “dumplings with sauerkraut and mushroom soup. By drying them, We can use them all year long or We process.
Is picking up the mushrooms difficult?
No, it is not, if You have knowledge about them. For me, it is a great pleasure. I can go to the forest 3 times a day, and come back with some mushrooms. When I was a child my parents thought me that, that is why I recommend to take children for picking up mushrooms. We may say that the tradition of picking up mushrooms is passed from generation to generation. It is illustrated in painting or literature, for example in o Polish national work “Pan Tadeusz” by Adam Mickiewicz.
What are the rules about picking up mushrooms?
You have to like it. If You start, picking up mushrooms, going to the forest will become great fun, alone, with friends or family. We always have a wicker basket, never with a plastic bag. When You pick up the mushroom it is still alive, so it is very important, what all the toxins would go away. We twist it from the ground, never cut it with the knife!. When We cut it the mycelus may mildew, and no other mushroom will grow there. Do not forget to cover the mycelus with some leaves so it won’t get dry in the sun ( I do it every time I pick up the mushroom). It is good to remember We always put only clean mushrooms to the basket.
- We organised Undergrowth Village, where You educate how to distinguish different kinds of mushrooms, You organise workshops and You go with the Young and Elder to the forest for picking up mushrooms…
MG: According to Undergrowth Village I guide through different subjects. Next to the forest, I have a beautiful, wooden thatched roof house, where my husband opened a restaurant. This is the place where I organise my workshops. I show pictures of mushrooms and tech how to recognise them, I tell more about the mushrooms, how to pick them up, how to store them what to do with them. I show good mushrooms and those that are poisonous. Workshops, that is not only the theory. We go to the forest and learn. For kinds, I organise tasks to search for the mushrooms or workshops to paints wooden mushrooms. Workshops are dedicated to kids and adults. Afterwards, one can visit nearby restaurants and try mushroom soup, dumplings or meat in a mushroom sauce. So, from the theory to practice.