China is the largest producer of edible mushrooms in the world. This year, mushrooms harvested from the farms, mountains and forests of Yunnan alone will make up more than 50 percent of total world export value.
There is no consensus in the Chinese press on how many kinds of mushrooms are grown in Yunnan – some report 250 varieties, while others claim more than 800. Regardless of the type of mushroom, exports from Yunnan will surpass 635 million yuan (US$100 million) this year, South Sea Net is reporting.
Four of the most popular exportable mushrooms growing in Yunnan are boletus (牛肝菌), matsutake (松茸), chanterelle (鸡油菌), and kuaijun (块菌), or Chinese truffles. All of these are available at different prices in fresh, frozen and dried variations. Japan, Russia, Italy and Hong Kong are traditionally among the largest gross importers of Chinese mushrooms.
According to the South Sea Net report, matsutake mushroom production will reach 3,000 tons this year, 1,200 tons of which will be available for export. Boletus mushrooms, which include porcini, account for the largest portion of all exports, with annual production of more than 100,000 tons.
Dried Morels for export are currently being shipped abroad for 2,400 yuan per kilogram. Fresh ganbanjun, a local favorite, are priced at 700 yuan per kilogram, while Black Yunnan truffles are trading on Taobao at 1600 yuan.
Now, near the end of the rainy season, is the best time of year to visit Kunming's mushroom district. It may be a bit pricey, but for mushroom lovers it is well worth it. Alternatively, one can always wander the hills around Kunming in search of wild fungi.
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