Pickers in northern Saskatchewan can expect to find a bumper crop of wild mushrooms and blueberries this season.
That’s according to mushroom buyer Fred John who said an abundance of rain, along with the considerable amount of heat in recent months, were ideal conditions for mushrooms and blueberries to grow. John, who has been purchasing those products at the junction of Highways 2 and 165 for eight years, noted pickers can earn up to $100 per day depending on the amount they collect.
“This is a good year because there are a lot of babies out there, and it should be a bumper crop season,” he said. “This is a major area for picking. It’s a central location for me, so that’s why I set up here every year.”
John is currently buying chanterelles and morels for $7.50 per pound, while he’s also willing to pay $25 per pound for pine mushrooms. The product will be sent to Ponderosa Mushrooms and Speciality Foods in Vancouver to be sorted according to size, before being shipped to countries around the world. John, who is also from Vancouver, arrived in the area two weeks ago and plans to stay until mid-September.
He noted while there’s a lot of mushrooms this year, the season is also about two weeks late due to cold temperatures at night. Morels are the first to grow, followed by chanterelles and then pine mushrooms.
There are also several pickers camped out in the same area John is buying mushrooms. Lac La Ronge Indian Band member Carrie Cook-Mckenzie is among them and she plans on staying until the season is over. She said picking mushrooms is more than just about the money for her.
“I think a lot of people enjoy walking in the woods and it’s an adventure,” Cook-Mckenzie said. “Mushroom picking is one of the best things a person can do during the summer.”
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