Not only is the request for Cardoncelli mushrooms decreasing these days, but also the demand for base cultivation substratum. "Usually, as spring approaches, the demand for mushrooms tends to drop. This year, things seem to be even worse, as high temperatures and the pandemic situation are amplifying this decline. When you can't go out to lunch or dinner for fear of infection or because local restrictions don't allow it, restaurateurs ask for less product and, as a result, growers plant fewer mushroom cakes. It's a succession of actions and reactions that affects everyone, including the people who make the substrates," explained Filippo Lupo of AgriFunghi.
"We supply mainly Apulia and Basilicata (the latter is classified high-risk zone and with restrictions starting 1 March 2021), substrate sales have almost disappeared, while fresh product sales continue, especially in the catering industry, but have overall dropped by more than 50% compared to times when they were working at full capacity.
"The positive thing is that prices seem to remain high (around 5 €/kg). The next few months will be crucial, especially if we can keep the contagions down. The HORECA sector absorbs about half of our production, especially in spring and summer, when the number of different occasions and special events increases. We are confident in a return to almost normality in late spring, this is why we have decided that over the next few weeks we will plant more than 40,000 units in the mountains, at 900 metres above sea level, in order to guarantee production during the summer months, extend the sales calendar and compensate for losses. By the end of March, we will be producing substrate again, which will be used to make the blocks that will be planted from September 2021.