Made in America
The small town of Kennett Square (pop. 5,273) produces 65 percent of mushrooms grown in America. Commercial mushroom production in the United States started in Kennett Square over 100 years ago and with a majority of the United State’s mushroom production centered around Kennett Square, it’s proclaimed itself the “Mushroom Capital of the World.”
- More than 100,000 mushroom fans enjoy unique mushroom festivities including the National Fried Mushroom Eating Championship, the Growers’ Exhibit, the Amateur Mushroom Cook-Off, the Soup and Wine Event and Mushroom Judging.
- Contests such as the Painted Mushroom Silent Auction and the Cute-As-A-Button (mushroom) Baby Photo Contest more activities for a wide variety of ages and interests.
- Mushroom Festival Community Parade features classic cars, marching bands and community organization
- The Mushroom Run and Fun Gus Walk and the Antique and Classic Car Show round out the event.
History of Portabella Mushrooms
Until the mid 1980s portabella mushrooms were considered a waste product. That was before Kennett Square mushroom growers at Phillips Mushroom Farm started giving them away to chefs and restaurants up and down the East Coast. From there, consumers started demanding portabellas at the grocery store and now portabella mushrooms are among the area’s top selling mushrooms.
Mushrooms: Nature’s Hidden Treasure (Nutrition)
Mushrooms are the only source of Vitamin D in the Produce Aisle!
Nutritionally speaking, mushrooms:
- are low in cholesterol,
- have a fat content of less than .2 percent,
- have a low glycemic index,
- have few calories,
- are low in sodium,
- are a good source of B-Vitamins, potassium, copper, and selenium
- are antioxidants,
- are a source of fiber that helps reduce cholesterol
- are the best source for ergothioneine, and
- are a source for Vitamin D.
The Mushroom Council’s website: (mushroominfo.com/nutrition) is a great source of information about the latest research into the nutritional value of mushrooms. Included is this current information about mushrooms and Vitamin D:
“Mushrooms are the only natural fresh vegetable or fruit with vitamin D; a serving of 4-5 white button mushrooms provides 15 IU. Preliminary research suggests that the ultraviolet light found in sunlight may boost levels of vitamin D in mushrooms. The natural process of “enriching” mushrooms by briefly exposing mushrooms grown in the dark to light for 5 minutes may boost existing vitamin D levels from 15 IU (4 percent of Daily Value) to as much as 100 percent of the Daily Value (400 IU). Currently, the industry is investigating ways to make mushrooms enriched with vitamin D through light enhancement commercially available.”
Mushrooms at the Mushroom Festival
Here’s a listing of mushroom-related activities one can do at the Mushroom Festival:
- Enjoy mushroom ice cream
- Eat grilled, fried, and sautéed mushrooms in a variety of dishes
- Try mushroom salads
- Have a bowl of Mushroom Soup (based on a local mushroom grower’s family recipe at the Masonic Lodge)
- Buy Fresh Mushrooms to take home
- Cheer on the contestants in the National Fried Mushroom Eating Championship
- Visit the Growing exhibit to learn the growing process from making compost to packaging by talking to local mushroom growers. (Saturday and Sunday, all day).
- Cooking demonstrations all weekend long in the Culinary Tent
- Amateur Mushroom Cook-off: Cheer this year’s five contestants as they make their signature mushroom recipes.
- Soup and Wine Festival: On Sunday, plan to spend some time sampling mushrooms soups from local restaurants, then vote for your favorite. This annual competition among the area’s professional chefs gives bragging rights for the year to the winner! Local wineries provide tasting samples and local jazz musicians fill the air with their sounds.
- Painted Mushrooms: Take a look at how local artists paint a 108-pound concrete mushroom. These mushrooms are part of a Silent Auction. Make a bid and your favorite painted mushroom could be proudly displayed in your yard.
- Cute as a Button (Mushroom) Baby Photo Contest: Help us choose the winner in the second annual Baby Photo Contest by voting for your favorite baby with your pocket change.
- Mushroom Run/Walk: Enjoy the sights of Kennett Square on Sunday morning as you run through “Mushroom Country.”
- Shopping: With nearly 250 vendors along the streets of Kennett Square, there’s plenty of opportunities to find mushroom-related items.
Giant MushRoom as Backdrop for Standups or Weather Segments
The MushRoom, a 15-foot-tall inflatable white button mushroom, makes a great eye-catching visual for a weather segment. This enormous spectacle is sure to make viewers do a double take no matter what the weather is outside!
INTERESTED IN A FEATURE STORY ABOUT THIS GREAT EVENT? THE MUSHROOM FESTIVAL COMMITTEE CAN SUGGEST SPECIAL STORY IDEAS AND ARRANGE FOR INTERVIEWS WITH LOCAL MUSHROOM EXPERTS ON REQUEST.
Contact: Kathi Lafferty
Mushroom Festival Coordinator