Over the weekend, Volker Ritzinger, a mushroom hunter in Utah, found a giant porcini in the woods. At close to 5.5 pounds, 15 inches high and 15 inches in diameter, this is the largest mushroom ever found in Utah, reports the local Fox affiliate.
Ritzinger, who calls himself “the mushroom king,” was born in Austria, where his family taught him to hunt mushrooms as a young boy. After coming to America, he opened a bakery in Utah and devoted himself to expanding the area’s farmers markets. He continued his family’s tradition of mushroom hunting, though; before this weekend’s discovery, his son held the record for the largest mushroom ever found in the state.
This year, the family’s mushroom hunting ground were unusually wet, creating ideal conditions for these porcini mushrooms to grow large. When Ritzinger found this giant mushroom, he could hardly believe it.
“I thought it was a tree stump, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” he told the local news station. He thought it could be large enough to break not just the state’s record, but the world’s; it was just 1.5 pounds short. Still, that’s one very large mushroom.