Newsletter Article
September 1995

Bits and Pieces

Each month we present a series of short articles that keep you up to date on happenings in the mushroom industry. We supply contacts wherever we can. Commercial growers use this information to develop marketing plans and to build networks that can help them be more successful. Hobby growers often find information that helps them expand their interests.

September is National Mushroom Month

September is a great month to promote your mushrooms. The Mushroom Council will be making several special promotions to heighten awareness across the U.S. Besides the on-line recipe contest we mentioned last month, and the "Blueprint for Profit" promotion we mentioned in July, the Council will be providing a full color editorial page entitled "Savory Soups and Stews" to over 600 daily newspapers and another release entitled "Mushroom Bacon Saute" to 10,000 weekly newspapers. They will also be directly contacting 800 daily newspapers; 500 supermarket executives; and 1,100 radio stations (via Bonnie Churchill's "Cookbook on the Air"). They also plan a magazine food editor tour during September on the West Coast. You can help by asking your local newspaper to use the material the Council sends them. If they haven't seen it, ask the Council to send it to them. You can contact the Council at: 916-781-7585 (voice) or 916-781-6576 (Fax).

United Airlines Connoisseur Class

"Connoisseur Class" passengers on United Airlines may see an entree' of veal chops on a bed of sliced artichoke hearts and shiitake mushrooms. The dish also includes a tarragon sauce with truffle peelings. Coupled with the meal is a specially selected wine: Clos Du Val Cabernet Sauvignon, 1989. Entrees vary from flight to flight, but this is one of the entrees to be featured in September and October.

Britain vs Ireland

In recent published reports, British mushroom growers say that state aid and grants to Irish growers result in unfairly cheap mushrooms. The Irish deny these claims. The European Commission may look into the matter.

Evans Shiitake Farm on QVC

The Delaware Economic Development Office and QVC, Inc. a cable TV broadcaster doing direct marketing, have identified 20 products from Delaware which will be featured in a prime-time national broadcast sometime this fall. Among the products is a "grow your own Shiitake Mushroom Log" from Evans Shiitake Farms in Ocean View. QVC is doing similar promotions for each of the 50 states at the rate of one state per week. The Evans shiitake log was selected based upon the farm's presentation at a trade show in Dover on July 18. Moral: Trade shows can pay!

Hardscrabble To Be At Trade Show

Who knows if it will lead to an appearance on national television, but Paul and Nan Goland of Hardscrabble Enterprises (Voice and Fax: 304-358-2921) tell us that they will be at booth #1905 at the EXPO East Trade Show. The show is for buyers for heath food stores and food co-ops. Look for them on the third floor of the Conference Center in Baltimore from September 16 to 18. They will be promoting their dried shiitake; mushrooms from Maitake Products, Inc.; soup mixes from Double J Mushrooms; and sauce from Persimmon Hill Farm (see our July 1994 issue).

Mushroom Picking . . .

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Interior (Bureau of Land Management) recently published a brochure for pickers of wild mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest. Cultivators of shiitake and oyster mushrooms typically use the "rock and twist" technique of picking that is illustrated in the brochure. Cutting the mushroom from the substrate leaves a stub of the stipe (stem) which can be an entry way for contaminants. When the mushroom is twisted off flush with the substrate, the mycelium rapidly seals off the damage. Subscribers received a copy of the brochure in this issue of the Newsletter.

Truffle Trees

Garland Gourmet Mushrooms and Truffles, one of only two U.S. truffle growers, is now taking orders for inoculated filbert trees. Truffles grow underground in a union with the roots of filbert or oak trees. Plantations typically involve 500 trees per acre. For details see our January 1994 issue. The trees cost $15 each with a 5% discount for more than 1000. A 2% discount is offered for pre-payment and a 15% deposit is required. The firm is also offering a booklet with all the details on cultivating truffles. It costs $15.00. More Info:

     Garland Gourmet Mushrooms & Truffles
     3020 Ode Turner Road
     Hillsborough, NC 27278-0292
Voice: 919-732-3041
Fax: 919-732-6037

Sylvan Does Well

Sylvan, Inc. saw an 11% increase in spawn sales in the second quarter of 1995 as compared to the 2nd quarter of 1994. The firm's Quincy Farms fresh mushroom operation saw an 8% increase in unit sales. Net sales were $18.1 million, up 9.7% from last year's second quarter. Sylvan is the largest world-wide distributor of mushroom spawn and is a major grower of fresh mushrooms in the U.S.

Mushrooms Featured

The August 21st Issue of The Packer, the business newspaper of the produce industry, includes a special supplement entitled "Mushroom Marketing". It includes advice to retailers, notes on growing demand for portabellas and pre-cut, and industry news.

Franklin Farms Grows Maitake

Eric Lee of Franklin Farms advises us that they have been growing maitake for years. He notes that they sell both fresh and dried maitake. For more info, contact Eric at:

     Franklin Farms, Inc.
     P.O. Box 18
     N. Franklin, CT 06254
Voice: 203-642-3020
Fax: 203-642-3024