Celebrating the Magical Mushroom

Last weekend we had the pleasure of visiting Kennett Square, Pennsylvania to be a part of the 25th annual Mushroom Festival. Kennett has long been known as “The Mushroom Capital of the World,” with more mushroom growing operations concentrated in the Southern Chester County area than any other area in the U.S. The festival has grown from being one block long to now stretching more than half a mile. This year, more than 50,000 visitors attended to celebrate our favorite fungus.

Of course, we attended in an official capacity – making it our business to sample all the mushroom cuisine available. In addition to the variety of mushroom soups available, we tried mushroom risotto, mushroom pizza, mushroom spring rolls, mushroom strudels, and – of course – the legendary mushroom ice cream (which is so creamy and delicious)!

But our main purpose for being at the Mushroom Festival was for the mushroom nutrition presentations. We call mushrooms “Nature’s Hidden Treasure” for a reason – mushrooms are all low in calories, sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free and full of essential nutrients.

This year, we invited four of the nation’s top researchers to spread the word on the benefits of including mushrooms in your diet, including:

  • Dr. Shiuan Chen from City of Hope was first to speak about his research on mushrooms and breast cancer. He and his team of scientists were some of the first to study the potential effects of white button mushrooms on cancer and are now applying this research in human clinical trials. We worked to raise additional money for Dr. Chen’s research by creating a Wall of Pink at the festival. With a $1 donation, attendees could sign a pink mushroom and add it to the wall.

  • Dr. Michael Holick, professor of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics at Boston University Medical Center, and Dr. Mona Calvo, a nutritional scientist at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition of the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), shared the latest research on vitamin D. You probably already know that the friendly fungus is the only item in the produce aisle to have vitamin D. Dr. Holick talked about the various reasons vitamin D is so important to our health while Dr. Calvo discussed how her team was one of the first to propose exposing cultivated mushrooms to ultra-violate light after harvesting in order to increase their vitamin D2 content.
  • Finally, Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, closed the day by discussing his research on using mushrooms as an effective substitute for meats. His preliminary research suggests increasing intake of low-energy density-foods, specifically mushrooms, in place of high-energy-density foods, like lean ground beef, can be an effective method for reducing daily energy and fat intake while still feeling full and satiated after meals.

While the official Mushroom Festival only happens once a year, we all know it’s a mushroom celebration every day here on the Mushroom Channel. Check out more photos from the event on our Facebook album.





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2 Comments to “Celebrating the Magical Mushroom”

  1. I like mushroom ice cream

  2. admin says:

    Thank you! What do you like most about mushroom ice cream?