Where do you find mushrooms in the north

DrThe hat was then with the Finnish Summer of the Century. On this day in mid-August, the sky is gray, as is the waters of the Lake Saimaa region, four hours northeast of Helsinki. Even the green color of the many islands that the cruise boat passes through looks bleak. But that doesn’t matter to the forty Finns below. On the contrary: if it does not finally rain after this heat, then there will be no or rare mushrooms. They wait for their first beach vacation with empty baskets and little knives, rubber boots or hiking boots, rain jackets and outdoor pants. Until then, they were by no means bored, hanging on the lips of a woman with curly bright red hair and other guides who would go with them to mushrooms. Or on a mushroom cruise, as they call it, because they sail between the islands with ships.

Finns love to go into the forests and pick berries or mushrooms. Everyone’s right in Finland says that you can help yourself practically anywhere, even on private property. Nature belongs to everyone. And since the forest grows over three-quarters of the land area, the quilt area is huge. Hunting for mushrooms has always been a part of Finland. But at a time when everyone wants to get out into nature, people are embracing the trees and doing everything they can, mushroom picking has become a current trend.

Music plays in the forest

“We follow rock stars into the woods,” says Nina Benanen, 38, from Helsinki, smiling as she looks like a collegiate. I made a date here with a friend who is also passionate about mushrooms in order to spend a few days together halfway. Girls’ weekend with Funghi. Next to her, Mina Ingqvist, 42, sits on the deck. It is clear that they are the only ones who are interested in the landscape, and not just what awaits them in the forest. Red Mökki (small houses) on small rocky islands under fir trees pass, mostly with sauna and boat. There is enough space for it with more than 13,000 islands in the largest lake area in Europe. Friends are also searching for the endangered Saimaa ringed seal, of which there are said to be 400 left. It is so popular that you can see it on live webcam on WWF On her favorite rock. Unfortunately only until May. Because there the nosy found the camera and bothered the animals.

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There are thousands of islands and stones jutting out of the water in the Lake Saimaa region of Finland.
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Photo: Anja Martin


“My dad always said you have to be very quiet in the woods, otherwise the mushrooms will hide,” Mina explains. Nina raises her eyebrows in astonishment because of course this is not true, biologically wrong, but it makes sense in a different way: it is about appreciating the forest, this other world, realizing it and turning to calm. “You focus, you don’t think about work or family stories,” says Nina. “And if you do that, you won’t find any mushrooms.” Besides, it’s like a treasure hunt, you always learn something new and spend time with people who are probably just as crazy as you. What they hope for today, after all, it’s time for it: on the common giant canopy (ukonsieni), one of the largest mushrooms in Finland with caps up to 40 cm wide, from which you can fry steaks.

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