In 1990, the Mushroom Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act was passed by Congress to strengthen the mushroom industry’s position in the marketplace, maintain and expand existing markets and uses for mushrooms, and develop new markets and uses for mushrooms. In 1993, the Mushroom Council was established to carry out the direction of this act.
The Council started out with a meager budget and a lot of inspiration about promoting mushrooms. It began doing research to closely define the mushroom user which became the foundation for all of its communication efforts. Once the ground work was laid, a successful promotions program began to take shape.
Immediate targets for consumer communication were food editors of newspapers and magazines, TV and radio personalities, and chefs and cookbook writers. Mushroom recipes went out to hundreds of venues each year — thus increasing consumer awareness and demands for literature on mushrooms. As a result, the Mushroom Council has made the pages of national magazines and newspapers, including Family Circle, Women’s Day, New York Times, Washington Post, Food Network, Rachel Ray, and Good Housekeeping.
Today, the Mushroom Council plays a very important role in the national promotion of fresh mushrooms through consumer public relations, foodservice communications and retail communications. Many different venues are used to promote fresh mushrooms to consumers, such as working with professional chefs in developing and promoting new recipes, working with produce department managers to maintain the highest quality mushroom product for customers and sending out thousands of brochures each year to consumers hungry for new mushroom ideas. Thanks to the Mushroom Council, mushrooms have their own month to be honored and eaten. September is National Mushroom Month.
Today, mushrooms are commercially produced in virtually every state. Pennsylvania, however, still accounts for approximately 60% of total U.S. production, which in 2015/16 reached 946 million pounds. From the caves of Paris to the dinner tables of millions of Americans, fresh mushrooms have come out of the dark and into a spotlight that’s intensity is ever increasing.
- Del Sordo, Stephen G. First Fity Years: A Chronological History of the Mushroom Industry.
- “History of the AMI”, Laura Phelps, Mushroom News, December, 1995
- Fruit & Vegetable Facts & Pointers, Claire Sackett, United Fruit & Vegetable Association, June, 1975
- United States. National Agricultural Statistics Service. Mushrooms. Washington: n.p., 2007.