TAMBA SASAYAMA, Hyogo -- Three matsutake mushrooms weighing a total of 70 grams fetched 830,000 yen (about $7,600) in the first auction of the season at a local market in this west Japan city on Sept. 16.
The bidding price for the highly prized matsutake mushrooms -- an autumn delicacy and a Tamba Sasayama specialty measuring between 7 and 11 centimeters long -- soared at the Tambasasayama Ichiba market. The Tanbasasayama Kinmata restaurant-inn in the city won the auction.
According to market head Toshiaki Iseki, the matsutake grown in Tamba Sasayama, where it's often foggy and temperatures drop significantly at night, give off a beautiful aroma. Perhaps due to a long spell of rain this summer, shipment of the mushrooms began seven to 10 days earlier than in usual years.
The first auction of the season began at 7,000 yen (about $64) and the bidding price quickly rose while sales brokers watched over. The winning price can be converted into about 11.85 million yen (approximately $108,000) per kilogram -- apparently a record high. The wholesale price during peak harvest time is usually between 50,000 yen (roughly $460) and 150,000 yen (about $1,400) per kg. Shipping will continue until around mid-November, though it depends on the weather.
Following the auction, Iseki said with a smile, "The flavor of autumn has started in Tamba."
Kengo Matsuo, chief manager of successful bidder Kinmata, commented, "The mushrooms are top quality with an excellent aroma. Though the circumstances are harsh amid the coronavirus pandemic, we hope to invigorate Tamba Sasayama's fall." He said that the mushrooms will be served for his inn's guests and others.
(Japanese original by Yoshiko Yukinaga, Tamba Local Bureau)