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Baskets out, boots on: Mild winter prolongs mushroom season in southern Finland

This year’s on-again, off-again winter has led to a longer season for Finnish forest mushrooms – and for the enthusiasts who enjoy tracking them in the woods.

Mikko Peussa gathered a bucket of these trumpet chanterelles in Rusko, southwest Finland. Image: Mikko Peussa

The ongoing mild winter has extended the growing season for many varieties of Finnish mushrooms – notably in the south of the country.

According to tips from Yle readers, varieties such as chanterelles can still be found in abundance in places such as Rusko, Lieto and Sauvo – all in southwest Finland. The delicacy has also been sighted in other parts of the southwest including Taivassalo, Turku and Kemiönsaari.

"When you have a mild winter, the mushroom growing season continues. The mushroom life cycle is such that the mycelium [growing part] grows continuously," said Jouni Issakainen, head of the Turku mushroom society.

Issakainen speculated however that the main crop period will likely end in the very near future. However if temperatures warm up again – as will be the case this week at least – then the growing season may continue further.

A good year for mushrooms

Kemiönsaari resident Gun-Brit Mattsson said that went mushroom-picking during the Christmas holiday. She noted that during just one trip into the woods, she managed to easily collect a basket of a few litres of chanterelles.

"If we had gone to the best areas, the basket would have been full," she declared.

Mattsson pointed out that hunting for mushrooms in the middle of winter is indeed a rare event. However she recalled a previous Christmas when she found a few chanterelles on a forest path – still, nothing to compare with her find this year, she added.

She noted that the entire year had been a good one for mushroom-gathering: since autumn she claimed to have taken home roughly 150 litres of fungal gold.

In spite of the pleasant surprise of finding mushrooms in the middle of winter, Mattsson said she would prefer to find snow on her forest walks.

"Mushrooms are for autumn. Now I’d like to ski," she concluded.

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