This handy kit has everything a mushroom picker would need, all in one pouch. The contents include a compass, a curved knife for cutting mushrooms at their base and a brush to clean them before placing them in the cotton bag.
Mushrooms grow in autumn during periods of rain and have been part of the human diet since prehistoric times. Chanterelles, boletes and cultivated mushrooms may nonetheless be grown and sold all year round. In Switzerland, mushroom-gathering is mainly a leisure activity, governed by a strict legal framework designed to protect the environment. The pink-tipped coral mushroom thus appears on the list of vulnerable species whose gathering is regulated.
The gathering of food, also known as foraging, was practised by the nomadic hunter-gatherer populations to enable them to meet their food needs. With agriculture, gathering was transformed into a systematic task: the harvest. Nonetheless, gathering food in the wild was still a useful way for the underprivileged classes to supplement their diet. Later, as standards of living increased in the industrial era, gathering food in the wild turned into a leisure activity.
Food gathering takes place in the wild or on cultivated land. However, gathering food from cultivated land, or ‘harvesting’, is nowadays mainly a mechanised, industrialised production process, while gathering food in the wild has hardly evolved since prehistoric times. Nowadays practised as a leisure activity in industrialised countries, it is governed by legal directives regulating the quantities that may be gathered and the tools that may be used, in order to protect biodiversity.