Yukon mushroom boom brings business benefits

Business is booming in the little town of Carmacks, Yukon (pop. 503) as hundreds of people flock to the area to harvest delicate morel mushrooms.
Ashley Russell prepares bannock to sell in a canteen she runs with a group of moms, who also take turns looking after the kids and picking morels. 'We’re making lots of money,' she says. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

As the mushroom boom continues in the Yukon's Carmacks area, it’s not just the hundreds of morel pickers who are making money.

At a camp along the Robert Campbell Highway, Ashley Russell and some other moms run a canteen where they sell bannock, coffee and stew.

“Half of us go across to pick, half of us stay in camp and sell hot food and cook all day and we split the proceeds in the end,” Russell says. “And the kids all hang out with whatever camp mom is on duty that day.”

Marty Courchesen works at the Tatchun Centre General Store in Carmacks where it gets busier and busier every day. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)
Russell says the sales are pretty good.

“We’re making lots of money.”

It’s the same story at the Tatchun Centre General Store in Carmacks, pop. 503, where it gets busier every day.

“We've been getting cleaned out on some stock and can't keep up,” says assistant manager Marty Courchesen.

Some items in particular are flying off the shelves.

“Water for one thing, and pretty much all drinks,” he says. “Meats: can't keep up. Bagging ice…”

Courchesen says they’re short staffed but are trying to boost orders to keep up with demand.

Morel mushroom picking is expected to last for weeks.