Keonjhar: Come rainy season, busy street sides and markets witness local residents of Keonjhar’s forest selling varieties of freshly grown mushrooms. This rainy season is no different either.
Mushroom growth is accelerated during the rainy season and to top it the forest dwellers have a great knowledge of the locally grown varieties of mushrooms. They have acquired the skill to instantly identify which one is fit for consumption and which ones are poisonous.
During this rainy season it has been a routine for them to go to the jungles in groups carrying bamboo baskets to collect mushrooms early in the morning
According to them, mushrooms like ‘Rutuka’, ‘Bihuduni’, ‘Bali Chhatu’ and ‘Kuta Chhatu’ are the most delicious ones. This is the reason why these varieties of mushrooms are always in demand. However, mushrooms like ‘Picha’, ‘Manda’, ‘Patura’, ‘Mahamuni’, ‘Bhanu’, ‘Angaru’ etc are also available in markets. As their demand is comparatively less, their price is also less as compared to the above-mentioned types of mushrooms.
These days, they can be found on any given day selling these varieties of mushrooms in markets and by the roadside.
While talking to Orissa POST, Raimani Naik, a forest dweller, says earlier they used to get huge quantities of varieties of mushrooms from backyards, farmlands and jungles.
“Now we are no longer getting them in nearby areas. To collect them, we have to go into the interiors of jungles. Sometimes we come face to face with wild animals. Yet, we collect and sell them in nearby markets. If they are cooked properly, its curry is as tasty as mutton curry,” she claims.
However, they allege they are not getting a fair price for their mushrooms. Traders do buy these mushrooms from them and sell them to people in an exorbitant price. Mushrooms from here are transported to other districts and even to places out of the state.
According to Harekrushna Mahanta, an ayruvedic practitioner, mushroom is good for health. Vegetarians prefer it over any alternatives. But there are some poisonous mushrooms as well. So we have to be careful while buying them. During these days, incidents of people dying after consuming some sorts of poisonous mushrooms are common.
Echoing the same, educationist Anil Kumar Das said that the quantity of naturally grown mushrooms has drastically come down over the years due to so many reasons including deforestation and climate change.
To meet the demand, nowadays mushrooms are being cultivated. Straw mushroom and button mushroom are the most common ones. But they are nowhere near the taste that naturally grown mushrooms offer. This is the reason why visitors to this district make it a mental note to buy some of these mushrooms to their houses, he added.