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Mary-Jane

Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

Saw this interesting article in Saturday's (yesterday) Guardian and thought it may be of interest if you didn't see it...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/country/article/0,,1956729,00.html
Treacodactyl

Quote:
n a good year Tee-Hillman can pick 50kg of pied de mouton in three hours. A driver takes about 150kg of mushrooms, for which she charges 20 a kilo


Are the numbers correct? That's 1000 for three hours work and 3000 a load. Surely she should be paying the FC and I hope she's paying taxes. Shocked
mimborin

Cheers for posting about the article MJ, it is very informative.
Jonnyboy

Treacodactyl wrote:
Quote:
n a good year Tee-Hillman can pick 50kg of pied de mouton in three hours. A driver takes about 150kg of mushrooms, for which she charges 20 a kilo


Are the numbers correct? That's 1000 for three hours work and 3000 a load. Surely she should be paying the FC and I hope she's paying taxes. Shocked



That's got to be wrong, she couldn't lift it.
Treacodactyl

Jonnyboy wrote:
Treacodactyl wrote:
Quote:
n a good year Tee-Hillman can pick 50kg of pied de mouton in three hours. A driver takes about 150kg of mushrooms, for which she charges 20 a kilo


Are the numbers correct? That's 1000 for three hours work and 3000 a load. Surely she should be paying the FC and I hope she's paying taxes. Shocked



That's got to be wrong, she couldn't lift it.


Also from the article:

Quote:
She collects nearly every day in season, parking at the side of the road and picking her way through the bracken.

The licence applies to her and her only. The five or six pickers who work with her, mostly young Poles, are still in breach of the Wild Mushroom Pickers Code. "They'll just have to dodge the Forestry Commission, I guess," she says.
bingo

I have had encounters with Mrs Tee. There is a lot of mushrooms in the Forest, it wouldn't surpize me if the numbers were correct, in the right spots. She wouldn't sell all her mushrooms at 20 a kilo.
I want a license.
dougal

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

Mary-Jane wrote:
Saw this interesting article in Saturday's (yesterday) Guardian and thought it may be of interest if you didn't see it...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/country/article/0,,1956729,00.html


Sadly the article doesn't explain the law.

The first interesting bit is in the Theft Act 1968 itself.
Section 4 (3) states that
Quote:
"A person who picks mushrooms growing wild on any land, or who picks flowers, fruit or foliage from a plant growing wild on any land, does not (although not in possession of the land) steal what he picks, unless he does it for reward or for sale or other commercial purpose. For purposes of this subsection "mushroom" includes any fungus, and "plant" includes any shrub or tree.

So foraging is *explicitly* not itself an offence under the Theft Act - UNLESS it is for "reward or for sale or for other commercial purpose".

I fear that The Guardian is being misleading in suggesting that English Nature's Code of Conduct has any legal standing.

Coming to the validity of that 'license'. One of the findings of R v Gomez [1993] 1 All ER 1 (a case relating to an employee knowingly accepting dud cheques for goods - the House of Lords said he was guilty of theft), in particular seen in the speech of Viscount Dilhorne, was that the necessary "appropriation" aspect of theft -
1 - did not have to be without the owner's consent - and -
2 - that the "appropriation" could occur even with the consent of the owner to the taking of the property.
Hence Mrs Tee could still, at least in theory, be guilty of the criminal offence of theft, if her appropriation is dishonest. And employing staff to pick for her, in breach of that license, sounds to me as though it might be considered dishonest by some.

The above is merely my understanding of the Law, and should not be relied upon, etc, etc, ... Very Happy
... however if anyone would care to check Current Law, I'd be most interested to learn if there has been any change relating to those specifics that I am unaware of.
Of course, there are other applicable provisions, notably The Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) - which makes it illegal to uproot any wild plant without the permission of the land owner. However, while that would certainly apply to wild carrots... its not what most folk would be doing.
Perhaps a review of other restrictions (quite apart from the Theft Act mentioned wrt Mrs Tee by The Guardian) would be useful from someone better qualified than myself.



Its sad that the judiciary should fail to realise that they have their part to play in Environmental Conservation, and I do hope that the same bench does not get to hear cases of commercially motivated industrial pollution, overfishing, importing unauthorised exotic species, or any similar abuse, lest they too might be felt to be "a waste of public time and funds". After all, no harm is being done, is it M'Lud?
cab

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

dougal wrote:

The above is merely my understanding of the Law, and should not be relied upon, etc, etc, ...


Thats pretty much my understanding. The only thing I'd add is that when you're picking from a right of way, you can pretty much defend picking whatever wild plants you can pick unless you're crossing the edge of a property; i.e. if theres a patch of ground elder at the bottom of someones garden you can pick the stuff on the outside of the fence, but even if you can reach through the stuff on the other side is off limit.


There is an issue here with some patches of woodland getting picked, and picked, and picked, and its right that landowners are aware of that. Prohibition is so very hard to enforce that other approaches seem sensible; I never quite got why organisations with big woodlands never hired people to harvest mushrooms as valuable extra products to sell, or why they don't set up licensing agreements.
Mary-Jane

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

dougal wrote:
Sadly the article doesn't explain the law.

The first interesting bit is in the Theft Act 1968 itself.
Section 4 (3) states that
Quote:
"A person who picks mushrooms growing wild on any land, or who picks flowers, fruit or foliage from a plant growing wild on any land, does not (although not in possession of the land) steal what he picks, unless he does it for reward or for sale or other commercial purpose. For purposes of this subsection "mushroom" includes any fungus, and "plant" includes any shrub or tree.

So foraging is *explicitly* not itself an offence under the Theft Act - UNLESS it is for "reward or for sale or for other commercial purpose".

Coming to the validity of that 'license'. One of the findings of R v Gomez [1993] 1 All ER 1 (a case relating to an employee knowingly accepting dud cheques for goods - the House of Lords said he was guilty of theft), in particular seen in the speech of Viscount Dilhorne, was that the necessary "appropriation" aspect of theft -
1 - did not have to be without the owner's consent - and -
2 - that the "appropriation" could occur even with the consent of the owner to the taking of the property.
Hence Mrs Tee could still, at least in theory, be guilty of the criminal offence of theft, if her appropriation is dishonest. And employing staff to pick for her, in breach of that license, sounds to me as though it might be considered dishonest by some.


If I could just wade in here.

Yes, you're absolutely correct in your conclusion on how the Theft Act operates in respect of foraging Dougal. If it's for personal consumption there's no problem - commercial gain from the practise, however, is contravening the law. It has been felt for some time that the law needs updating - after all, it's getting on for 40 years old and doesn't take into account the changes in society with regard to the development of the food industry.

But please don't blame the judiciary - they can only implement the law as it stands. It is true to say that they may 'create' new law as the occasion arises (or 'discover' as they prefer to say), but that can only happen when there is no legislation in force and the only guidance they have is common law.

I should respectively add that to use Gomez an a comparitive authority is misguided. The Lords overturned the Court of Appeal (who had allowed the defendant's appeal against conviction) and held that Gomez had turned on the issue of consent, the fact being that although there had been 'consent' to the theft of goods (bought from a shop with 2 dud cheques) it was in fact, dishonest consent because the shop owner had not known that the cheques could not be honoured. The issue of consent in the present case is entirely different and in any event has effectively been set aside by agreement between the parties and the issuing of a personal licence to forage.

However, the crucial legal principle which remains is that foraging wild food for commercial useage is illegal under the Theft Act and that point has yet to be addressed.



I'd be interested to know everyone's views on how that should be dealt with in respect of a change in law...
Mary-Jane

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

Mary-Jane wrote:

I'd be interested to know everyone's views on how that should be dealt with in respect of a change in law...


And if you do come up with some good ideas, anyone fancy forming a pressure group to lobby Parliament...? Wink
RichardW

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

cab wrote:

Thats pretty much my understanding. The only thing I'd add is that when you're picking from a right of way, you can pretty much defend picking whatever wild plants you can pick unless you're crossing the edge of a property; i.e. if theres a patch of ground elder at the bottom of someones garden you can pick the stuff on the outside of the fence, but even if you can reach through the stuff on the other side is off limit.


If thats true then why do I HAVE to give back to a neighbour any branches that I cut off his tree that over hangs my garden? Maybe cos they belong to him even if they are out side his boundary? Using your logic all property out side of your own boundard is "open season".

Justme
dougal

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

Mary-Jane wrote:
... If it's for personal consumption there's no problem - commercial gain from the practise, however, is contravening the law.
...
But please don't blame the judiciary - they can only implement the law as it stands. ....


My understanding of the Tee case is that the lady cheerfully admits that she was gathering mushrooms specifically for commercial sale, and operating in contravention of the landowner's wishes.
Which on those facts would seem to be a clear offence under the Theft Act.
Tee's defence would seem to have rested on a claim that she had one or more rights to pick the mushrooms for commercial use - either gained through prescription or long accorded to local commoners.

It is "hard to understand" Judge Boggis's comments in the May criminal case that
Quote:
"I am not dealing with someone up for GBH, or someone dealing in heroin, I'm dealing with a matter which falls for the civil courts.
It is wholly inappropriate for public money to be spent on criminal proceedings such as this."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/nolpda/ukfs_news/hi/newsid_4986000/4986236.stm?

It would seem that what has now happened is that the Forestry Commission has decided not to continue the Civil action, rather than the matter actually being decided in the courts.
http://www.thisisdorset.net/display.var.1037973.0.mushroom_woman_wins_right_to_pick.php
They had banned her, seemingly from *all* mushroom picking in the New Forest, and she had challenged that.
January 06 link


I would suggest that the Theft Act clearly creates the specific criminal offence of foraging for commercial purposes, and that to say that such matters "fall for the civil courts" would indeed seem to be "discovering" something new in the Law.


I'm happy to leave the question of the relevance of Gomez as moot.
The point itself was no more than that part of the ratio of that case was that the necessary "appropriation" for a theft offence could occur *with* the consent of the owner, and yet a Theft Act offence could still be committed where that consent was obtained with the aid of any dishonesty.
dougal

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

cab wrote:
Thats pretty much my understanding. The only thing I'd add is that when you're picking from a right of way, you can pretty much defend picking whatever wild plants you can pick unless you're crossing the edge of a property...

The specific Theft Act exemption relates to things "growing wild on any land".
The question then becomes a matter of what is "growing wild"... Very Happy
jp

I'm no legal beagle, but to me the issue seems to be one of sustainability. Is she jeopardising the New Forest's ability to sustain its fungi levels by picking such large (?) quantities & therefore selfishly undermining the rights of the public at large to be able to pick mushrooms should they so wish? Not a legal point, but for me sustainability is the core issue.
dpack

a bit the same as fish then .
i leave plenty to spread spores but take mine ,not for sale , shrooms .
sustainable commercial forage for shrooms seems to work in some places but not others it depends on the picking style and intensity .
i was taught by a well experienced polish lady and she left 1 in 4
it would make economic (and i like eating those )sense to have a crop in the future .
knowledge is power but power should be used well .
Mary-Jane

dpack wrote:
i was taught by a well experienced polish lady ....


Ooh-errr dpack...you dark horse Laughing
cab

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

Mary-Jane wrote:
Mary-Jane wrote:

I'd be interested to know everyone's views on how that should be dealt with in respect of a change in law...


And if you do come up with some good ideas, anyone fancy forming a pressure group to lobby Parliament...? Wink


This is a real toughie. Theres nothing wrong with commercial picking if its done sustainably, and many commercial pickers are totally responsible. But I've been through some woodlands after they've been picked, and everything is gone. Its like its been stripped clean and they're going to sort out the edible from toxic later.

So I'd be all in favour of some kind of licensing system for commercial pickers with an enforcable code of conduct, covering national trust land, forestry commission land, national parks, public parks, etc. I think that responsible commercial pickers would welcome this, and I think it could do a lot to protect stocks.
Jonnyboy

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

cab wrote:

So I'd be all in favour of some kind of licensing system for commercial pickers with an enforcable code of conduct, covering national trust land, forestry commission land, national parks, public parks, etc. I think that responsible commercial pickers would welcome this, and I think it could do a lot to protect stocks.


People have to apply for shooting rights, and they ask questions about sustainability, vermin control, crop protection etc, etc. You could have a similar system with pertinent questions and let people apply every couple of years.
hedgehogpie

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

cab wrote:
But I've been through some woodlands after they've been picked, and everything is gone. Its like its been stripped clean and they're going to sort out the edible from toxic later.


Which I find very worrying. If they can't discern the differences while picking it suggests the whole lot are being swept up fast and dumped into the same basket. Not such a good idea... Confused
cab

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

hedgehogpie wrote:

Which I find very worrying. If they can't discern the differences while picking it suggests the whole lot are being swept up fast and dumped into the same basket. Not such a good idea... Confused


That kind of thing is (in my experience) thankfully uncommon.
dpack

not a ooh err, more a you dont die eating these shrooms and they grow in places like this
and pear vodka is educational ,she taught me to make that as well Laughing
maria was awesome ,a great survival tutor in many ways .
i try learn from the experienced who have had to do it hard core and that lady did as a child Shocked
if one needs to escape from the gulag, trade jam and shrooms from the forrest for a blind eye then walk to persia Wink
she would find the comment "nice buns "a compliment though cos given an oven ...Laughing
pizza

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

cab wrote:
That kind of thing is (in my experience) thankfully uncommon.


Yet many rangers use it as the main reason for licensing or banning the activity. Take Wimbledon Common.

Quote:
Restaurants send these people up to pick as many fungi as they can, and then sort out the one or two edible ones and throw the rest away.
Tinks

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

hedgehogpie wrote:

Which I find very worrying. If they can't discern the differences while picking it suggests the whole lot are being swept up fast and dumped into the same basket. Not such a good idea... Confused


Presumably Mrs Tee wants her business to thrive so will leave some to spore. And aren't most mushrooms grown from a mycaelium?

The most worrying thing from the article is stating her revenue, that might tempt people to go out and pick everything in sight without knowing anything and who then dump the lot when they get back home because they've suddenly realised that.

In one way, she is providing a conservational service. If there were more public experts on wild foods, then if needs be, they can provide expert witness if there are "issues" or campaigns. They can highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy woodland and provide evidence.

With our population expanding by large numbers each year, there will unboubtedly be a threat to the land for housing in the not too distant future and if we are to preserve our countryside, we will need more and more expert witnesses to fight against development.
jp

Licensing, quotas & so on are are useful tools - but are next to useless if there is no education. Most people, including those who pick for commercial gain, will see the sense of conservation & sustainability when the issues are presented & explained clearly. The trouble lies with the greedy & ignorant few who are out to make a fast buck before moving onto the next get rich scheme when the source of money is used up. Such people don't care & no amount of licensing or education will stop them - only reasonable enforcement of fair & sensible rules & the sharp eyes of the rest of the public can hinder such people. Is this Tee woman one of the latter ... I don't know but I fear so.
Tinks

jp wrote:
Licensing, quotas & so on are are useful tools - but are next to useless if there is no education. Most people, including those who pick for commercial gain, will see the sense of conservation & sustainability when the issues are presented & explained clearly. The trouble lies with the greedy & ignorant few who are out to make a fast buck before moving onto the next get rich scheme when the source of money is used up. Such people don't care & no amount of licensing or education will stop them - only reasonable enforcement of fair & sensible rules & the sharp eyes of the rest of the public can hinder such people. Is this Tee woman one of the latter ... I don't know but I fear so.


Well, I don't think she is. If she has been gathering daily for years, she has obviously gained more than money from her forays. She will undoubtedly have taken in the seasonal rythms of the woodland, observed other wildlife and is probably a keen eye on the general health of the woodland.

Why is it so wrong that a person is picking and selling mushrooms? Is it a problem that she has the knowledge to have carved a niche for herself and is making a living from it?

As long as she is doing no lasting damage to the woodland (and she'd not be doing herself any favours if she did) and she currently I believe runs courses too, I don't see why there is a witch hunt against her.

A farmer running an arable farm that uses pesticides is a far greater "criminal" against nature.

I suspect that why she is being talked about, is in part due to jealousy that she has the knowledge to make a healthy living by foraging.
pizza

I'm with jp on this. Greedy people will think about conservation of resources only when it's too late. And normally not even then, they will carry on depleting them until it's profitable, then move on to the "next thing".

And excuse me for not giving the benefit of the doubt to somebody who has an affair with her lawyer to "speed things up" with her divorce.
Tinks

Would you be so harsh if it were a member of your family doing this for a living? And we don't know how much this woman is leaving behind, how "greedy" is she being.

Also, anyone in any form of manufacture of any kind is taking some sort of natural resource. How does one determine what is excessive?
pizza

As I see it, she broke the law (and she still is) and she got away with it in a very fishy way. I have no sympathy for these people, no matter my relationship to them.
hedgehogpie

I'm afraid her attitude can easily be deduced from the comments she's made - in particular the one about her largely Polish workforce 'just having to dodge the authorities'.


She does not seem (ahem) to be a very nice person.
jamsam

wow..do they grow in wales and where can i get some young poles from??
Green Man

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

cab wrote:


Thats pretty much my understanding. The only thing I'd add is that when you're picking from a right of way, you can pretty much defend picking whatever wild plants you can pick unless you're crossing the edge of a property; .


You give the impression that land on a right of way is not owned by anybody. This is not true. A right of way is only that, and does not mean that the ground is publicly owned.
cab

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

Cho-ku-ri wrote:

You give the impression that land on a right of way is not owned by anybody. This is not true. A right of way is only that, and does not mean that the ground is publicly owned.


You're right. Yet just 'cos the land is owned by someone else, that doesn't mean that taking wild produce you can reach from a right of way through it is illegal.
bingo

I know Mrs Tee, and for that reason, I'm out of this debate. I will say though, that she (from conversations with her) does follow the code even though she takes a lot.
Mary-Jane

jamsam wrote:
wow..do they grow in wales and where can i get some young poles from??


*Sigh* Now we've spoken about this before Jamsam Rolling Eyes If you continue with this needy panting every time young, available men are mentioned, I'm going to have to put you back on the lead again...
dougal

jamsam wrote:
... where can i get some young poles from??


Weren't you already advertising on the internet? Very Happy
Bernie66

dougal wrote:
jamsam wrote:
... where can i get some young poles from??


Weren't you already advertising on the internet? Very Happy


Speed dating ? Rolling Eyes
Tinks

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

cab wrote:
Cho-ku-ri wrote:

You give the impression that land on a right of way is not owned by anybody. This is not true. A right of way is only that, and does not mean that the ground is publicly owned.


You're right. Yet just 'cos the land is owned by someone else, that doesn't mean that taking wild produce you can reach from a right of way through it is illegal.


I would have thought that morally, it's the same difference.
cab

bingo wrote:
I know Mrs Tee, and for that reason, I'm out of this debate. I will say though, that she (from conversations with her) does follow the code even though she takes a lot.


Yes, I've heard many good things about her. She generally has a good reputation, or at least thats what I've heard from other pickers.

If we could perhaps leave specific people out of the discussion, that would be good. Then it would be great to get the input of anyone who actually is a commercial picker (hint, hint) about whether licenses with an accompanying code of conduct would go down well.
Chez

Re Poles, there are a lot living in the back of the pub in the village apparently; and we rented a couple of rooms out to some VERY nice chaps for a few months last year. Jamsam, perhaps if you put an advert on spareroom.co.uk? Smile.
dougal

Re: Foraging and the Theft Act - good article in Guardian

Tinks wrote:
cab wrote:
Cho-ku-ri wrote:

You give the impression that land on a right of way is not owned by anybody. This is not true. A right of way is only that, and does not mean that the ground is publicly owned.


You're right. Yet just 'cos the land is owned by someone else, that doesn't mean that taking wild produce you can reach from a right of way through it is illegal.


I would have thought that morally, it's the same difference.


Lets just clarify the legal position.
If something is growing *wild*, picking it (non-commercially) is defined as not being a criminal offence of Theft. (There may however be other picking restrictions and protections.)
However, that gives no entitlement to be on the land so that you could be picking the wild stuff.
The existence of a public right of way legalises your access.

Put the two together and there should be no legal problem with individuals picking reasonable quantities of something unprotected that is growing *wild*, which is accessible to people *on* the right of way.

I don't see what the ethical problem might be with this.


There are other aspects - but they are distinct. For example:
- commercial picking of things growing wild, and its potential licensing
- "scrumping", taking things that are cultivated rather than wild
- access on to land (without a right of way) for the purpose of foraging for things growing wild
- sustainable management of the wild resource
Treacodactyl

Isn't the moral/ethical problem that she has been asked to stop by the land owner and refused to do so? There are so many things I could do legally but I wouldn't for moral/ethical reasons, buying factory farmed eggs for example.
Tinks

So, from all of the above, a civilized approach would be to foraging:

If it is not on your own private land, touch nothing unless you have asked permission from the landowner

If you are granted permission, pick small amounts and leave plenty

Abide stringently to any license and stay within permitted territory

Jamsam may, if able to identify correctly, be permitted to collect any appealing Poles and spirit them away to the privacy of her own home Very Happy
dougal

Treacodactyl wrote:
Isn't the moral/ethical problem that she has been asked to stop by the land owner and refused to do so? There are so many things I could do legally but I wouldn't for moral/ethical reasons, buying factory farmed eggs for example.


Hang on, these are very different things.

1/ Picking wild things ( that are not protected) for private consumption, in places that you do not require the landowner's explicit permission to go.
That has to be completely unexceptionable. And is legally permitted.

2/ Picking wild things by the hundredweight for sale and profit. (A potential Theft offence.) And doing so in direct disregard to the landowner's plainly expressed opinions and instructions.
Which is, IMHO, only defensible if your idea of 'freedom' involves freedom to grab whatever you can when its not guarded, locked up, or nailed down.
Its not as if there was an unlimited supply of... Cod, for example. As some people were claiming, only a few years ago. Commercial fishing interests, especially, who one might have expected to have some concern about protecting their own livelihoods.

As I said, very different things.
Treacodactyl

dougal wrote:
Treacodactyl wrote:
Isn't the moral/ethical problem that she has been asked to stop by the land owner and refused to do so? There are so many things I could do legally but I wouldn't for moral/ethical reasons, buying factory farmed eggs for example.


Hang on, these are very different things.

1/ Picking wild things ( that are not protected) for private consumption, in places that you do not require the landowner's explicit permission to go.
That has to be completely unexceptionable. And is legally permitted.


IIRC there are quite a few areas of National Trust land nearby that you are free to walk over but they explicitly state no picking of Fungi. I think it's a shame but abide by the request if I want to use the land. Now I know forestry commission land is different but wouldn't it be a shame if such cases led to people being restricted from their land?
Tinks

IIRC there are quite a few areas of National Trust land nearby that you are free to walk over but they explicitly state no picking of Fungi. I think it's a shame but abide by the request if I want to use the land. Now I know forestry commission land is different but wouldn't it be a shame if such cases led to people being restricted from their land?[/quote]

Will they make an exception if you wrote and asked for permission?

It stands to reason they have the rule, as presumably certain areas of National Trust land gets a fair amount of people on it.

I'd have thought seeking permission was standard practice, out of politeness if nothing else.
jp

Quote:
I'd have thought seeking permission was standard practice, out of politeness if nothing else.

Yes, indeed. Common sense & ethical considerations have as much role in this as rules, regulations & best practice. Nobody would like someone helping themselves to something on their land without asking, even if they could reach it from a public area. With areas managed by the National Trust or some other such public body, public access is granted & foraging allowed (or not) as the case may be, but the body entrusted to its care is doing it on behalf of the public as a whole, setting the neccessary rules such that the land can be sustained for all. After all, they should be in a position to judge as a whole if exploitation of a resource is having a dangerous impact or not, which few individuals can do on their own. For example, it maybe that reasonable exploitation by large numbers of individuals (all acting within accepted guidelines) could have a serious impact on the resource, which is only apparent when viewed as whole - recognition of the problem & action by the responsible body is then to be expected to preserve the resource for the future.
Commercial exploitation of natural resources has been going on from time immemorial. There is nothing wrong with that as a principle. I think that most commercial exploiters of natural resources have a close interest in maintaining that resource in good condition - after all their livelyhood may depend on it. However, there are always those who do not care - it is these that the rules etc should be used to deal with, as they threaten the ability of the majority to enjoy the resource. Someone has to make judgement on the public's behalf in such cases, & the natural choice will be the body entrusted with the care of the land in question. Providing they are acting reasonably, transparently & within established rules then their actions against such individuals should, in my opinion, be fully supported.
doctoral

jp wrote:
... recognition of the problem & action by the responsible body is then to be expected to preserve the resource for the future.


... may I just interject here that the fishing industry around Britain has not enjoyed this type of attitude for some years now ...
hedgehogpie

I just want to skew the debate for a moment if I may?

I've been wondering about sustainability and commercial harvesting for a while and have just read an interesting document of wild food foraging as an 'industry' in Wales (collecting, selling, growing, tourism etc).

When a big upmarket restaurant buys girolles (or whatever) is the kudos in the flavour, or the 'wildness'? Do they buy because they're really selling that 'hand picked from the woods & fields by little old ladies with willow trugs' image (delightful fantasy!), or because they genuinely appreciate them?

Is it a bit of both? It can't be the price, because in most cases that seems to be astronomical, although possibly not to their customers. And which bit are their cutomers paying for? The hand picking (by those hearty, rustics presumably Wink ), the exclusivity of that, or the taste?

'Ethical' harvesting has been mentioned, 'sustainable' harvesting has been mentioned, but no-one's talking about actually farming them* - why?

*Except the Welsh, perhaps who it seems are planning on developing the idea. So take note all residents in Wales, there's an as-yet untapped market on your doorstep!
bingo

Restaurants buy wild mushrooms because they taste good. Having products like Ceps, Girolles and Truffles on a menu looks good because "joe public" knows there expensive but from a chefs point of view I think thats as far as it goes.
cab

hedgehogpie wrote:
'Ethical' harvesting has been mentioned, 'sustainable' harvesting has been mentioned, but no-one's talking about actually farming them* - why?


You'd think it would be simple, wouldn't you? Unfortunately, it isn't. Best person here to talk to about that is Truffle.
hedgehogpie

The reason I'm curious is because the document I've been reading suggests innoculation of suitable woodlands almost as a matter of course. Having read a little about the success (or otherwise) of trying to grow truffle innoculated trees for example, it still seems to be a bit of a hit and miss affair to me.

I wondered where we were with the current technology - I guess this is where Truffle steps in and enlightens me. And I really want to know, because at some point I'd like to establish a woodland so that we can try it!

Bingo, you're a chef yes? Where you've tasted them, do you think you can discern any difference between cultivated and wild mushrooms? (I don't mean the bog standard white jobs obviously!)
bingo

O.K.... Wild mushrooms taste better due to a stonger flavour, I don't know why, maybe exposure to the elements. Cab?
On the other hand cultivated mushrooms are always cleaner and you have the reassurance of hygiene when buying them. Also the obvious perk to using cultivated is the're non seasonal.
The common cultivated mushrooms used in the restaurant industry are: Oyster, Shitake, Blewits, Shimeji, Horse, Enoki and Chestnut.
I actuly think Chestnuts make a good alternative to the more expensive varieties.
Culivated Oyster fetch around 6 a kilo, Shitake 9 and Blewits about 13 from your veg supplier.
Wild mushrooms are around the 15 mark per kilo, depending on what they are, availability e.c.t., Ceps heading towards 20 and Morels 30. Not many restaurants use fresh out of season(cep/morel), frozen and dried seem to be exceptable. Dried Morels are good, frozen Ceps are alright.
From a chefs point of view wild mushrooms are good because they taste good, which makes the punters tip good, which is good.
Cultivated mushrooms are good because they don't need a good clean, which is good because it means the chef gets a good fag break, which is good. Chefs also know they can get hold of them consistently and consistently put them on there menus and price them consistently, which means the will consistently get there bonus, which means they can consistently buy there beer. Which is good.........
Chef Bingo.


bingo

BRING OUT THE GIMP! Rolling Eyes
hedgehogpie

'Kay.....

So if I were ever to be a sucessful fungi grower I know I can definitely sell to smoking chefs who value their fag breaks, and broadly speaking the punters frankly have no idea if what they're eating is farmed, wild or preserved apart from clues in the the price. Hmm... Interesting!

(I wasn't going to mention the orange Shocked ).
dpack

do chantrelle dry ok ? Laughing
i leave 1 in 4
why should i sell dinner to buy dinner ?
hedgehogpie

Laughing
bingo

hedgehogpie wrote:
'Kay.....

So if I were ever to be a sucessful fungi grower I know I can definitely sell to smoking chefs who value their fag breaks, and broadly speaking the punters frankly have no idea if what they're eating is farmed, wild or preserved apart from clues in the the price. Hmm... Interesting!

(I wasn't going to mention the orange Shocked ).



Nail and head.
bingo

dpack wrote:
do chantrelle dry ok ? Laughing
i leave 1 in 4
why should i sell dinner to buy dinner ?


Sell dinner to buy beer then!
dpack

i have wine Wink
i try to be responsible in my forage ,it makes sense ,next year Laughing
bingo

Dpack.
If your implying I forage in a irresponsible manner, you're wrong.
All my patches grow back the following year.
Stewy

Talking of frozen Ceps Bingo how well do they freeze? I've frozen a few for the first time this year to see how it goes but aint got round to using any yet.
dpack

habitat is more important than spore density .
never mentioned you or anyone else
imho shrooms are best cooked before freezing
Stewy

How do you cook your Ceps before freezing dpack? do you boil them for a little while and then freeze?
cab

bingo wrote:
O.K.... Wild mushrooms taste better due to a stonger flavour, I don't know why, maybe exposure to the elements. Cab?


Wild mushrooms don't always taste better if you're comparing like for like; a good farmed oyster mushroom can taste every bit as good as a wild one, and good old Agaricus bisporus tastes very similar wild or farmed. The big difference is that there are a whole range of wild shrooms that no one has managed to grow commercially; no one, to my knowledge, is farming ceps on a commercial scale, or chanterelles, or hedgehogs. Blewits are now farmed but they do seem to suffer from beng rather 'forced', IMHO.

The simple truth is that many of the tastier species are rather complex in their growth requirements, making farming difficult.
cab

dpack wrote:

imho shrooms are best cooked before freezing


For the most part I agree. I've found that chicken of the woods freezes well without cooking, and ceps seem to do okay (standard practice in some kitches, or so I'm told, is that right Bingo?). Someone (Nettie?) said that she froze uncooked St. Georges shrooms and that they were good.
bingo

Yeah, I just chuck Ceps in the freezer uncovered. When they are fully frozen,put them in a plastic bag. They won't be as good as fresh but not bad.
Cab, some of the wild Oysters I've found are a brown colour and taste really mushroomy, I have never had a cultivated Oyster of that quality.
bingo

Stewy, when defrosting Ceps I recomend a natural defrost, then slice and fry. I've put them from frozen straight into stews before and found they were a bit slimey.
cab

bingo wrote:

Cab, some of the wild Oysters I've found are a brown colour and taste really mushroomy, I have never had a cultivated Oyster of that quality.


Cultivated ones are often picked far too young, and the strains are often selected for mass rather than flavour. I've had some gorgeous farmed ones, theres a bloke sometimes on our local farmers market with some good ones and occasionally on the proper market here in Cambridge too. But they're not all that good.

Saw truffles on the market for the first time this year the other day. Went and had a sniff, turns out that there were some summer truffles and some black ones. Such a shame that they were old and really hard, by the time they're that far gone I can't be doing with them Sad
doctoral

I think they are all at their best before freezing, but usually you pick more than you can eat in a sitting - then freezing is only one of the storage options. Velvet shanks and blewits seem to freeze exceptionally well. Others I would dry, or store in oil, or vinegar, or maybe salt them.
dpack

boletus fan dry very well
jp

Quote:
Velvet shanks and blewits seem to freeze exceptionally well.

Doc, you say that Blewits freeze really well - have you tried freezing both Field & Wood blewits? Do you just stuff 'em whole into the freezer or chop them first? Any blanching needed?
cab

Many is the time that I've picked field blewits in December when they've been frozen solid. They seem okay for it, but I've never intentionally frozen them because I think that they dry very well.
doctoral

jp wrote:
Quote:
Velvet shanks and blewits seem to freeze exceptionally well.

Doc, you say that Blewits freeze really well - have you tried freezing both Field & Wood blewits? Do you just stuff 'em whole into the freezer or chop them first? Any blanching needed?


Sorry for the latish reply - I quick fry them first before freezing.
doctoral

... also, I remove the stalks and chop them before frying. When I use them, I generally thaw and then warm through with some butter, before adding them to a stew, omelette, or whatever.
doctoral

bingo wrote:
Stewy, when defrosting Ceps I recomend a natural defrost, then slice and fry. I've put them from frozen straight into stews before and found they were a bit slimey.


Many of the boletes tend to get a bit slimey if they are boiled from frozen - red cracked seem to be the worse.
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