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Mushroom success for Svetlana Radivon

Resident of Volkovysk, in Grodno Region, gathers mushrooms for January Christmas celebrations: six chanterelles and six blewits

By Natalia Timokhina

“Usually, our forest is not rich in mushrooms. It’s wonderful luck to find some in January. The blewits were slightly frozen but the chanterelles were young and strong; it was a pleasure to look at them,” Svetlana tells us, showing her love for mushroom hunting.  She plans to cook soup from them.

On New Year’s Eve, reports of mushroom gathering arrived from various Belarusian regions, in addition to Sweden, Latvia, Finland and elsewhere. Those in the Grodno Region love to go to the forest to find mushrooms, as the Head of the Mycology Laboratory at the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences’ Experimental Botany Institute, Olga Gapienko, tells us.

This year’s unusually warm weather and high humidity have helped mushrooms grow especially well, despite winter. “This has happened in the past but mostly in December,” she explains. “We’ve been on expeditions to study this phenomenon. These January mushrooms will continue growing while the weather remains mild. Autumn was dry but it’s rainy now, so the chanterelles and blewits are ‘confused’ about the seasons — failing to follow the calendar!”

Meteorologists state that December usually marks true winter but no real shift has been seen in the average daily temperature, making it fall below zero degrees (as usually occurs in late November). Many Belarusian meteorological stations registered abnormally warm weather at the end of 2011 and, in general, December was warmer than usual — exceeding the norm by 5 degrees Celsius. However, it failed to break the record of December 2006, when the average monthly temperature exceeded the norm by almost 7 degrees.

Warm Decembers happen once every 20-25 years in Belarus. On the warmest days, the temperature reached 8-14 degrees above zero, with average rainfall of 50mm (against the usual 44mm). A little snow was registered last month, although it only lasted up to five days.

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