Because of the unquenchable hunger for boletus in Italy, the little piggy has become an endangered species. Porcino picking is strictly regulated in order that there be enough to go around and to preserve the species. In order to pick porcini in Italy, one must have a personal permit, which is valid in only one municipality and costs between FIM 300-400 a year.
The permit gives you the right to pick one kilo of boletus a day on a maximum of two days a week. The numerous forest wardens zealously inspect the backpacks and cars of boletus excursionists to make sure that no one has taken more than a kilo. For excesses of boleti, one can easily get slapped a FIM 4,000 fine and - worst of all - have one's prized catch mercilessly confiscated on the spot.
According to regulations boletus pickers in Italy are not allowed to collect their catch in airtight plastic containers or bags. They must be collected in baskets so that the spores can fall onto the ground through the cracks, an important environmental detail ensuring the enjoyment of the porcino for future generations.
Helsingin Sanomat, 9.9.2003 (об итальянце, основавшем в Финляндии фирму по скупке грибов у населения):
So far this summer, the company has distributed over two million euros of mushroom income to pickers in Central and Eastern Finland.
Ninety percent of the company's porcini are sold to Italy. One truckload can contain mushrooms worth tens of thousands of euros, so the transportation must proceed without delays. Three years ago, Eastern European countries entered the market, but Dalla Valle relies on Finnish quality.
The boletus season is approaching its end; one notices this at the tills. As recently as last Saturday, an average picker received a 100-euro bill and some change, now the average purchase is 40 euros.