I think it is safe to say that mushroom picking is a Czech national leisure activity. The mushroom season usually lasts from June/July through October. Last year’s harvests were especially generous thanks to the rains and cool temperatures. On our weekend trips from Prague, we would see people returning from forests with baskets full of gorgeous suchohřiby, křemenáče, bedly and other mouthwatering varieties. As we sat in our train compartment, we went by people’s yards and caught glimpses of piles of fresh mushrooms being cleaned in preparation for dinner or to be sliced up and dried. From the bus windows, we watched rows of colorful holubinky line the road.
We haven’t been taking very many trips this summer but I hear that this is another good year for mushrooming. Even rare kinds of mushrooms, ones that can be seen just a few times in a lifetime, can supposedly be found in the Vysočina (Bohemian-Moravian Highlands) region where the weather has been just right.
When we were in Italy last fall, we marvelled at the abundance of fresh forest mushrooms that were sold at outdoor produce markets. I was jealous and wondered why forest mushrooms aren’t sold anywhere in the Czech Republic, a country that is so devoted to mushrooming. Is it because people are expected to pick their own mushrooms?
There’s a good article on mushrooming on the Radio Praha website.