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July 15, 2019

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Look! Up in the sky! Flying mushrooms

Drones are used in China to spray pesticide, to take aerial pictures and videos.

They are also used to help ferry the palatable yet fragile matsutake from the mountains to the dining tables of foodies.

Villagers in the Tibetan areas of southwestern China’s Sichuan Province are using drones to help race against time to lock in the best flavor of matsutake, a local delicacy.

As one of the most precious fungi in the world, matsutake is known for its strong distinct aroma and rich nutrition, as well as its vulnerability and fleeting freshness.

However, in Yajiang County, dubbed the “home of matsutake in China,” the lack of roads has hindered transport out of the mountains.

“Local villagers have to get up at 3am in the morning to forage for these mushrooms that often grow on steep hills. Matsutake is thought to bring fertility, fortune and happiness.

“And they won’t be back until around 4pm because merely coming down from the hills takes four to five hours,” said Guo Xianyong with the matsutake industrial park in Yajiang.

Now, with the help of drones, newly picked matsutake can be sent out of the mountains more quickly.

“It only takes about 20 minutes to ferry down the fragile mushrooms with drones so the best flavor of the mushrooms can be preserved,” said Guo.


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