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Sep 14, 2020
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Safari in Russian. What are mushroom tours and how much do they cost

Not everyone knows that the mushroom season is not just the summer months. According to the calendar of the mushroom picker, the first month of autumn is the best for picking summer mushrooms that are still growing and replenishing your basket with autumn varieties.

For inexperienced mushroom pickers, the difficult question is where to go hunting and what mushrooms can be collected. Of course, you can surf the forums and find out tips from local mushroom pickers, who will not only share photos of their forest prizes, but also tell you which meadow is better to go to. And also follow the rule: “If you don’t know how to do it yourself, turn to professionals for help”. In case you are not good at mushroom safari, it is worth getting out on a special excursion. We found expert mushroom guides and found out how much their services cost and who will refund the money if the client leaves with nothing.

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Mushroom professionals

Thirty-year-old mushroom picker-guide Alexander said that his love for the forest was formed in childhood. He lived with his parents in Zelenograd, and even his way to school lay through the forest. On weekends, a frequent leisure activity in the family was mushroom picking. After moving to Moscow, Alexander bought a car and started driving into the forest himself.

- Once my friends asked me to take them to the forest. I took, showed everything, told about mushrooms and the forest. They liked it. So the idea came up not to go alone. I made a website for myself, as this is my profession. I thought that during the season I would go picking mushrooms with people. I expected one or two people to contact me a year - told Alexander. - In the first season, I had about 30 hikes. This year I have four applications a day. I don't even have time to answer people. Because of the pandemic, people have nowhere to go, and they come up with an unusual type of leisure.

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Now Alexander takes tourists on mushroom hikes about twice a week. His clients are different people, and they all have their own reasons for going to the forest. The most standard - a person in childhood went mushrooming. Now the skills are clouded - how to walk, what to collect. Standard clients, according to Alexander, look like this: guys aged 25-30, young families with children. Sometimes the elderly also come. All with different levels of wealth.

The reasons prompting people to turn to a guide are different: they haven't gone mushrooming for a long time, they don't know what to pick, they are often afraid of getting lost in the forest. Women are afraid to go to the forest alone.

- In the forest, I explain where to go, how we orient ourselves, which sides we adhere to, where we are now in relation to our car. So people walk calmly and know that I will always take them out, - says Alexander.

Forest safari prices

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Alexander clarifies that if the client could not collect anything, then simply the amount for gasoline is divided among everyone. During the walk, he promises to tell a bunch of tales, stories from life, legends and much more about mushrooms and hunting for them. Also shares cooking recipes.

For one or two people, the cost of a forest walk will be 5000 rubles. For a group of five or more people you will have to pay 10,000 rubles, then 1,000 rubles for each additional person.

Another experienced mushroom picker, Mikhail Vishnevsky, a famous Russian mycologist, author of popular science books about mushrooms, also conducts similar excursions.

According to him, his services are always in high demand, and even more than he is able to offer. If he was only doing excursions, then he would have to go to the forest every day. Mikhail says that his clients are completely different people. There are those who do not understand anything at all, and the specialist shows them the main types of mushrooms. There are advanced mushroom pickers who want to expand the circle of their knowledge.

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- On average, a person collects 15 types of mushrooms. The advanced mushroom picker collects 50 species. Quite steep - 100-200 species. My price tag starts from 70 thousand per group. And it happens that one person also often comes and pays such an amount, - says Michael. - You can go mushroom picking with me all year round. This is my official activity, all payments go through the card, I am registered as self-employed.

Mushroom experts say that you need to go for such a safari through the forest early in the morning - at six to seven o'clock. At this time, the mushrooms have not yet had time to lose moisture, which means they have retained a lot of nutrients. Guides advise you to wear comfortable and warm clothes, take sandwiches and a thermos with hot tea with you, as it can be much cooler in the forest than it seems.

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Svetlana Ibragimova
Svetlana Ibragimova

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