We report the harvesting of an average of 4,000 kg of saffron milk caps (Lactarius deliciosus Fr.) per day during four to six weeks between mid-October and mid-November in a village of 200 inhabitants in northern Spain. Nearly every inhabitant picks saffron milk caps, for which they receive an average of 2 €/kg. A family of four could make a profit of 5,600–8,400 € in a season (average annual income per family in the area is 18,727 €). Pickers sell the harvested mushrooms either to a local middleman or directly to the buyer, who then takes the produce to the final point of sale, usually in Catalonia, where the demand for saffron milk caps is increasing yearly. This trade has occurred for 30 years, and began when saffron milk caps started to appear in the area after pine trees were introduced to replace the native oaks. This study provides evidence that the collection and marketing of wild edible fungi is a profitable task on a local and national scale.
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