On the hunt: Lithuanians race to pick wild mushrooms

Hundreds of Lithuanians have been running around with baskets and buckets in a southeastern pine forest.

Why you ask? It's the national championship of wild mushroom picking — a competition always held on the last Saturday in September.

Participant Janina Juodine said that's when conditions are "not too dry, not too wet, the humidity is perfect." Rival Julius Sostakas called the event "part of our cultural heritage" — since edible fungi are considered an essential element in Lithuanian cuisine.

A local team called Mushroom Nightmares won Saturday's contest by delivering 58 kilograms (128 pounds) of mushrooms. The foraging festival took place 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the capital, Vilnius, and close to the border with Belarus.

Contest judge Rimute Avizininene said it had been "a great event."