«Cèpes du Périgord » : a collective brand at the service of forest owners
In Périgord (South-western France), boletus is not a mushroom like the others : its picking is a ritual, a real social and cultural phenomenon. Usually sold between 10 and 20 euros per kilo (exceptionally up to 40 euros), it is a popular source of income for farmers and retirees. Since autumn 2013, four markets in Périgord have been entirely devoted to boletus. But except for these markets, mushroom harvesting and marketing is not organized. This observation is at the origin of the creation of the collective brand "Cèpes du Périgord" in 2013 by the association of the same name.
In 2013, an association from Périgord launched the collective brand "Cèpes du Périgord". It provides Perigordian owners with a tool to optimize quality and marketing of their production. Organized in this way, the local boletus sector also intends to fight against illegal harvesting. Producers can thus guarantee the origin and the quality of boletus through traceability and thus better meet buyers' expectations.
The geographical area of harvest of "Cèpes du Périgord" includes all the towns of the Dordogne and the neighboring municipalities of the department in Charente-Maritime, Charente, Haute-Vienne, Corrèze, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne and Gironde.
Only the following four species are authorized for sale under the brand name "Cèpes du Périgord" : Boletus edulis, Boletus aereus, Boletus aestivus, Boletus pinicola. The mushrooms are sold fresh. They are presented packaged, in tray or crate, wiped, arranged in a single layer, sorted according to their state of maturity and in a state of optimal freshness, guaranteed by the delay between the harvest and the selling below 24 hours and correct storage conditions.
Only the owners / collectors authorized by the association "Cèpes du Périgord" are allowed to use the collective mark. They must prove their ability to collect on parcels that are identified by a title deed or a harvest authorization signed by the owner of the parcels concerned.
All boletus sold on the market under the brand name "Cèpes du Perigord" must be properly labeled. In addition, harvesters must keep a harvest record showing the name of the owner, the identification of the harvester, the date of harvest and the total harvested weight.
Impacts and weaknesses
Beyond the interannual variability of harvests, the brand and the markets work quite well. For example, in 2018, 1.2 tons of boletus were sold over fifteen days at the market of St-Saud-Lacoussière (Dordogne). In addition, the association "Cèpes du Périgord" has about 150 members, with a core of very dynamic owners who greatly contribute to the success of the project.
However, a lack of supervision of the commercialization of other species such as Golden chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) or Horn of plenty (Craterellus cornucopioides) is harmful for the traceability of these products, however, much sought-after.
In Périgord Vert (northern part of the department of Dordogne), a political will is clearly displayed to tend toward a mycological territory recognized by the quality of its products as well as the creation of mycotouristic products. Funded by Leader funds, this project will allow to carry out several actions:
• Mobilize local forest owners on the marketing potential through the "Cèpes du Périgord" brand;
• Mobilize artisans and canners in the production and use of local mushrooms and contribute to the production of new products and methods of preservation to provide products all year round;
• Encourage restaurant owners and hotels to use and promote local mushrooms;
• Create events to celebrate this product through educational activities.