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Berry picking

The harvest of wild berries kept the end-of-summer days of Luserna’s women busy, and was for them a source of useful family income, also considering that nothing was yielded from the cold season, since all work had to cease in winter, to be resumed only the following spring. That is why in August and September, women were busy picking wild berries. It was necessary to get up when it was still dark in order to reach at dawn the areas where raspberries (hennepern), wild strawberries (roatpern), blueberries (sbartzpern) and blackberries (murn) were to be picked. Berries were sold immediately after returning to the village; as to raspberries, the biggest buyer was the Zuegg factory in Lana (South Tyrol), while other fruits were marketed to hotels and restaurants in the area. The Luserna forests were, and still are, a rich source of Porcini mushrooms (brigalde). It took many hours of searching to pick fifteen to twenty kilos of mushrooms, so women also brought along a few pieces of polenta (pult) and cheese (khes) to munch on during short breaks. The sale of Porcini mushrooms to traders generally brought in about 50-60 cents a kilo, though a greater amount could be made when mushrooms were sold on the Trento market. Even today, Porcini mushroom picking is, albeit to a limited extent, the source of supplementary income for some elderly village women.