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Bilberry increasingly popular

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Publication date 31.3.2010 8.13
Press release -

Last year's bilberry crop was above the average and the amount picked for sale almost doubled to three million kilos. This and other information on wild berries and mushrooms can be found in an inquiry on the entry of wild berries and mushrooms to the market among the most important enterprises in the sector.

The income from bilberry picking totalled 4.1 million euros, which is the highest among wild berries. The functional properties, i.e. positive health effects, of bilberry and good export opportunities have raised its value. Most of the bilberries came from forests in the Province of Lapland.

Last year foreign berry pickers had a significant role in the harvesting of the berry crop, especially in the Provinces of Lapland and Oulu. Berry pickers who mainly come to pick bilberries and lingonberries now also pick other wild berries as well as mushrooms.

In 2009 a total of 3.6 million kilos of lingonberries were picked for sale from Finnish forests. This was a little less than the year before. The quantities sold were quite evenly distributed between the Provinces of Oulu and Lapland and western Finland. The income from lingonberry picking totalled 3.8 million euros.

This year's cloudberry crop, mainly harvested from mires in the Province of Lapland, was quite poor and only 73.8 tonnes were sold. The income from cloudberry picking totalled 0.6 million euros. Other wild berries are commercially less significant. The amount of black crowberries sold totalled 33 tonnes and 11 tonnes of cranberries were picked for sale. Typically only small quantities of wild raspberries are picked for sale, but last year the amount was exceptionally high, 1.7 tonnes.

Of the wild mushrooms Boletus edulis (porcini or cep) is by far commercially the most important. Last year's crop was close to the average and the quantity picked for sale, a little over 350 tonnes, was about the same as the year before. Porcinis are usually sold fresh, because the mushrooms spoil very easily and thus require immediate processing. Porcini is an excellent export product. The income from picking for sale totalled 1.4 million euros.

The amount of Lactarius (milk-caps) picked was higher than the year before. A total of 114 tonnes of Lactarius trivialis (northern milk-cap), the best mushroom for salting, was picked for sale. The amount of Lactarius rufus (rufous milk-cap) picked for sale was 39 tonnes, and small amounts of Lactarius torminosus (woolly milk-cap) also came to the market.

The chanterelle crop was abundant and the season was long. A total of 29 tonnes were picked for sale, which is the highest amount during the 2000s. Cantharellus tubaeformis (trumpet chanterelle) grew long into the late autumn. A total of 28 tonnes were picked for sale. The crop, 23 tonnes, was quite normal.

In 2009 the total income from wild berries amounted to 8.7 million euros and the income from wild mushrooms totalled almost two million euros. The income from wild berries was the highest in the Province of Lapland and the income from wild mushrooms, as usually, in eastern Finland.

Further information at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:
Leena Kotsalo, Senior Officer, tel. 358 (0)9 160 54299, (0)40 578 0849

Sirkka-Liisa Anttila