Every day from 4 pm to 6 pm during the fall and winter, mushroom pickers line up to sell their fungi to Eric Schramm, a Fort Bragg resident who became a global celebrity after the New York Times proclaimed him ‘King of the Candy Caps.’
A Candy Cap is a tiny rare mushroom so delicate that it must be carefully dried before shipping (Eric has invented his own drying process). They smell like maple syrup and end up each year in sauces at local restaurants and in ice cream at Cowlick’s on Main Street.
Schramm estimates the total world production of Candy Caps is 300 to 400 pounds and he supplies at least 100 of those pounds.
It takes him all day to pick a five-gallon bucket. However, payoff isn’t bad at $140 per pound.
Overall, Eric’s Mendocino Mushrooms company ships 60,000 pounds of mushrooms each a year from Fort Bragg to Japan, Europe and sometimes Switzerland.