Converging on the Mushroom Capital of the World

by Josh Pringle, Director of Marketing

How often can you say that you have been to the “…Capital of the World”? Philly is the Cheese steak Capital of the World. Russia is the Vodka Capital of the World. Lockhart, TX is known as the BBQ Capital of the World. Well, here is one you might not have known – Kennett Square, PA is known as “The Mushroom Capital of the World”.

Tucked away in the southeastern corner of the Pennsylvania, you would never know that this tiny village and its surrounding area produce more than half of the total US mushroom crop each year. Besides the annual Mushroom Festival held their each September - and the 800 pound steel and light mushroom that drops on New Years Eve - you would never know this unassuming community is knee-deep in spawn, spores, caps, and all things mushroom. Sure, there are a few eateries with giveaway names like Portabellas but unless you know what to look for, you’d be amazed that Kennett Square is the epicenter of the mushroom world.

CO2Meter, Inc. was fortunate enough this year to attend the Penn State University's College of Agriculture Mushroom Short Course – a two days seminar and exposition for mushroom growers. Most people have never thought about how that plastic wrapped styrene box with white buttons or portabellas actually makes it to the shelf of your grocery store. It is an age old process that has taken on technological advances over the last few decades.

The workshop sessions included Phorid Fly eradication efforts, reclamation of former mining operations for grass feedstock, new biopesticides, and more. The mushroom industry professionals attending this conference were looking to learn and share ideas that will benefit the industry worldwide. Attendees came from as far as the Netherlands to hear and speak with industry experts.

For example, Bart Driessen from Mycosupport, Inc. gave a presentation on the global mushroom industry. He focused on the massive undertakings he is supporting in China. Bart shared photos of a test facility that is going to produce more than 100 million pounds of mushrooms per year.

All the producers are concerned about CO2 and oxygen levels in their process which is why our team exhibitco2 and oxygen level metered at this conference. In most instances mushroom growers are measuring CO2 as it off gases from the mushrooms. Some also use CO2 to retard the growth of the mushrooms to insure that development of the caps is precise while also allowing for staggered production. Oxygen is being measured in the growing rooms, but more prevalently in the mediums for growth. We demonstrated our prototype sampling data logger line as well as the iSense NEMA units.

You know you are at the right place at the right time when you get comments like “we never have anybody demonstrate these types of products…not in the 25 years I’ve been coming to this”.

I guess our attendance had nothing to do with me being a FUN-gi ;-)

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