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In summer and autumn, many residents of Latvia head into the woods to search for the offerings of the forests: mushrooms, wild berries, and various herbs for teas. This type of recreation is popular, as a simple walk in the forest provides a true sense of calm and lets one enjoy the flavours of hand-picked berries, mushrooms or nuts.
Mushroom and berry picking is a family pursuit: children learn to recognise edible berries, mushrooms, medicinal herbs and to treat nature with care… and after that, what can be more pleasant than enjoying your own pickled mushrooms and pancakes with wild berry jam on dark winter evenings!
Latvia is densely covered with forests and is generally a green country which is why you will be able to find these treats of nature in every corner of Latvia, even in the parks and forests of the capital Riga.
That is why there is not much point in mentioning specific berry picking or mushrooming spots. It is better to select one of the many Latvian guesthouses near a forest for your accommodation, quiz your hosts about berry and mushroom picking possibilities, and off you go! It is also worth asking if you can pick herbal teas that will fortify your health in the dark and cold autumn and winter months. Another possibility would be finding knowledgeable companions for your forays into the forest: any family that is involved in this hobby will know a special spot for berries or mushrooms. Well-informed nature guides can also be found at the Natural History Museum of Latvia.
Not all berries and mushrooms found in the Latvian forests are edible and there is a risk of food-poisoning if inedible plants or fungi are consumed. Therefore, if you do not know your mushrooms and berries very well, it is better to go to the woods accompanied by experienced companions. You must also bear in mind that Latvian forests are vast, and uninitiated individuals may get lost in unfamiliar places. Nevertheless, the joy of finding berries and mushrooms is truly special. We recommend that you try it!