Mushroom hunting is an entertaining way to spend a day, but the crops in Austria have been so successful this summer that tourists have been turning the bumper crop into an opportunity for a black market working vacation.
According to The Local, this year Austria has had a wet summer that’s been very good for the wild mushrooms in its woodlands. In fact it’s been so good that recently the mountain guard in the Austrian state of Carinthia said it had discovered a surprising black market in tourist-gathered mushrooms, because Austria’s tourists have taken to mushroom gathering, then selling their hauls to local restaurants to pay for their vacations.
Some tourists have reportedly even managed to gather up to 110 pounds of mushrooms to sell to restaurants, many of which are more than happy to buy a big basket of fresh local mushrooms from friendly neighborhood tourists. But the practice is illegal and the tourists are actually running a black market and risking police involvement.
"Buying and selling without a license is prohibited by law," a representative said.
Officials say they will be monitoring mushroom deliveries to the area’s restaurants to crack down on the illicit mushroom business. Mushroom picking for personal use is still OK, check out our best mushroom recipes for some creative ways to use up your own haul.