Shimla :It has been been a good year for the rare and much sought after wild guchi mushroom in Himachal Pradesh , guchi finders say .
The price of this grey mushroom rose around Rs 2000 as compared to last year to Rs 11,000 per kg.
The last of the guchi mushroom is still entering markets of the hill state including the state capital Shimla.
Once the rare mushroom leaves the state its price shoots up due to its strong demand in the catering business in top hotels of metropolitan cities .
Besides its delicious and exotic taste experts say it is also rich in protein and other nutrients .
The guchi mushroom cannot be grown.It sprouts naturally in the wild .It is found in moist shady forest floors, orchards , yards and meadows in the mid hills of the state .
Guchi finders set out in late March with sling bags looking for this wild mushroom . Some remain away for weeks and return with bags full . The last of the wild guchi can be found in the end of May .
Guchi is not immediately sold .The mushrooms are strung to thread like necklaces and dried for a few days .This reduces the moisture and is now ready to be sold and eaten .
Guchi is often bought by buyers directly from farmers and guchi pickers in their villages who then sell it at a higher price in markets across the state and other parts of the country .
Although this mushroom has been around for ages the state government has surprisingly no figures about how much Guchi is found and sold here every year. There are also no figures of the estimated revenue it brings to locals .
The popular saying in the hills is if the spring in the hills is wet with frequent thunderstorms guchi bursts from the ground in plenty .
In Himachal it is found in the hills of Shimla , Kinnaur , Kullu , Sirmaur , Chamba districts among other places. It is also found in neighbouring hill state of Jammu & Kashmir .