Azerbaijani Mushrooms on Store Shelves Near You!
Let me just say that before today, I was not even aware of the existence of any sort of attempt within the Azerbaijani agricultural community to grow mushrooms. Mushrooms are hard to find here, unless you are in Baku. I’m not even sure I’ve seen a mushroom here in Lənkəran. I will say, however, that an increase in mushroom production in Azerbaijan will certainly be appreciated by the Peace Corps Volunteers here, if not the general populace.
Unfortunately, it looks like the projected increase in mushroom production in Azerbaijan is slated for export:
The capacity of the enterprise “Proqress”, producing mushrooms, was increased due to a loan from the National Entrepreneurship Support Fund under the Azerbaijani Ministry of Economic Development, a representative of the company Mahir Mammadov told media.
“In 2010, the company got a credit from the National Fund to the amount of 990,000 manat. This sum was spent to increase the capacity of the enterprise up to 1,200 tons per year. Moreover, these funds were also spent to purchase modern equipment for building a workshop marinating mushrooms,” he said.
He said that at present most production is delivered to cover domestic demand, but its part is exported – to Georgia. Besides Georgia, there are a number of markets, for example, Russian which are ready to export mushrooms from Azerbaijan.
We might have to lead a campaign to get more Azerbaijanis demanding mushrooms in household dishes. I can think of a few dishes that would benefit from the addition of mushrooms immensely. I also like that the term “Progress” is being used in conjunction with the food “mushrooms.” Good idea linking here.
The larger lesson, though, is that, for those of you who haven’t been to Azerbaijan, it’s important to know that this is a place where you can watch supply and demand work their magic in front of your eyes. At large grocery stores in America, everything is there, from mushrooms to kale to Cheerios. And it’s hard to see how a lack of demand keeps any given product off the shelf. Instead, in Azerbaijan, a lot of the adjustments we make to our cooking have to do with what is available. We’re not getting 14 kinds of cheese at the local store because there isn’t really a demand for that. And you won’t find oregano outside of the capital, because nobody knows what that is. While this situation can have some drawbacks in terms of variety of foods, the silver lining here is that at any given shop in Azerbaijan, I know what I can get before I even set foot in the door.