Caterina Rancho

The Secret World of Mushroom Foraging in Peitz

There is a lore surrounding the art of mushroom foraging that lends itself to a particular joke, which goes like this: If a mushroom forager shows you his “secret spot”, he isn’t very good at foraging.

According to tradition, the best mushroom foragers in the world like to keep their “top” foraging locations private, that way other people won’t come and raid their stash. On a recent trip to the forest in Brandenburg, Germany, GC was fortunate enough to be let into the secret world of mushroom foraging in the countryside near Berlin– in a place somewhere near (but not exactly inside) a small village called Peitz.

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The man who took us here is named Jan, but in the interested of protecting his spot he didn’t want us to reveal his last name! We came to Jan because he is an expert in a particular type of mushroom that grows in Peitz: bay boletes and yellow boletes.

Around 30 years ago, the land around Peitz was abandoned by the army, who used to use the land for military training. Today, amongst the robust old growth forest, it’s still possible to find metal parts of army vehicles– a haunting nod at the military presence of yesteryear.

Many wooded areas in Germany– including the Bavarian Woods and the Black Forest, are regions in which mushrooms thrive. Moss and mushrooms like the bay boletes thrive in mixes forests such as these, which are a mixture of deciduous and coniferous. And of course: the best time to go to the woods to collect mushrooms is one day after it rains.

In addition to the metallic remnants, certain areas of Peitz– we won’t say exactly where– have developed a reputation for the wild mushrooms that can be found here.

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