Growth in­dus­try

Spe­cialty mush­rooms on the rise

The Phoenix - - OUR TOWNS - By Emily Ryan For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

“We still hand­pick all of our mush­rooms,” said Linda Phillips Steller, lead­ing an im­promptu tour of the fam­ily business, Phillips Mush­room Farms in Ken­nett Square. “We grow shi­itake mush­rooms in those houses down there.”

It’s Na­tional Mush­room Month, and grow­ers have plenty to cel­e­brate. Ex­otics like shi­itake, enoki and oys­ter are trend­ing with U.S. sales top­ping $96 mil­lion last year, up 4-per­cent.

“I think the con­sumers are learn­ing more,” ex­plained Daniel Rahn, project man­ager at the Amer­i­can Mush­room In­sti­tute. “They’re tak­ing an in­ter­est in va­ri­eties that in the past were not as pop­u­lar, but they’re show­ing up more on store shelves and in restau­rants.” Nu­tri­tion’s a big draw. “Peo­ple are watch­ing their diet. Mush­rooms are healthy. No doubt about it,” said Jim An­gelucci, Phillips’ gen­eral man­ager. “Oys­ter mush­rooms have some of the same com­pounds as the statins that we take.”

“A lot of peo­ple like them for their medic­i­nal value,” agreed Joe Evans of Oley Val­ley Mush­room Farm. “I have a lot of peo­ple ask­ing me about lion’s mane (aka pom­pom) mush­rooms. Sup­pos­edly, they’re good for MS and lu­pus.”

Plus, “it’s a tasty mush­room,” he said. “If you sauté them in but­ter, they taste like lob­ster.”

An­other fa­vorite: maitake, dubbed hen-of-the-woods for its ruf­fled ap­pear­ance.

“I would say it’s just pure umami. It’s just got a very rich, won­der­ful fla­vor,” de­scribed Dorene Pasekoff of Hill Creek Farm in Pottstown, who dis­cov­ered wild ones on her property. “They do help the farm’s bot­tom line.”

Back at Phillips, the tour con­tin­ued in the mush­room mu­seum, where vis­i­tors en­ter a cli­mate-con­trolled room, fea­tur­ing maitake and more.

“We’ve seen a rise in mai-take with the chefs,” said Jill Phillips Gray, Steller’s sis­ter. “Shi­itake’s prob­a­bly the­most pop­u­lar of the spe­cialty mush­rooms with the con­sumer.”

Make your own shi­itake “ba­con” or shi­itake mush­room spread.

“The uses of mush­rooms are lim­ited only by your imag­i­na­tion,” An­gelucci added. “You can get them every day, and you can use them in every way.”

Shi­itake Ba­con


Shi­itake mush­rooms Olive oil Shi­itake fin­ish­ing salt/ sea salt


Re­move stems and thinly slice the caps. Toss in bowl with olive oil and salt. Spread on bak­ing sheet. Bake at 350 de­grees un­til crispy. En­joy on soups, sal­ads or right off the pan. RECIPE COUR­TESY OF PHILLIPS MUSH­ROOM FARMS

Hol­i­day Shi­itake Mush­room Spread


2 ta­ble­spoons vegetable oil

8 ounces fresh shi­itake mush­rooms, stems re­moved and caps chopped (2 cups)

8 ounces fresh mush­rooms (2½ cups)

2 ta­ble­spoons shal­lots or scal­lions, chopped 3 ta­ble­spoons dry sherry ½ tea­spoon salt ¼ tea­spoon freshly ground pep­per ¼ tea­spoon thyme leaves 3 ounces cream cheese, soft­ened

1/3 cup re­duced-calo­rie may­on­naise


In a large skil­let, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mush­rooms, cook and stir un­til golden, about 5 min­utes. Add shal­lots; cook and stir un­til mush­rooms are browned, about 5 min­utes. Add sherry, salt, black pep­per and thyme; cook and stir for 1 minute; cool. In a food pro­ces­sor, com­bine mush­room mix­ture, cream cheese and may­on­naise; process un­til smooth. Place in a cov­ered con­tainer; chill at least 1 hour. Serve with crack­ers and sweet pep­per strips. Serves 10 to 12. RECIPE COUR­TESY OF PHILLIPS MUSH­ROOM FARMS

Pom Pom Bake


1 pound pom­pom mush­rooms, torn into ½-inch pieces

6 cups fresh spinach, chopped 4 cloves gar­lic, minced ¼ cup olive oil Salt and pep­per ¼ pound Gruyère, grated IN­STRUC­TIONS

Pre­heat oven to 350 de­grees. Lightly grease an 8-inch bak­ing dish. In a large bowl, toss to­gether mush­rooms, spinach and gar­lic. Driz­zle with olive oil and sea­son with salt and pep­per to taste. Ar­range in the pre­pared bak­ing dish. Sprin­kle with grated cheese. Bake 30 min­utes or un­til cheese melts and has lightly browned. Makes 4 cups. RECIPE COUR­TESY OF PHILLIPS MUSH­ROOM FARMS

The Wood­lands at Phillips Pom Pom Crab Cakes


1 pound pom pom mush­rooms ½ stick of but­ter 1 tea­spoon lemon juice ½ tea­spoon Old Bay (op­tional) ½ tea­spoon salt ½ tea­spoon pep­per ½ cup gar­lic aioli or may­on­naise 2 eggs ¼ cup bread or cracker crumbs

2 ta­ble­spoons fresh minced chives


Dice the pom pom mush­rooms and sauté in but­ter un­til slightly soft­ened. Mix the pom pom mush­rooms with re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents. Shape into cakes and sauté 5 to 7 min­utes per side. Top with truf­fle aioli.

Truf­fle Aioli


2 eggs

1 tea­spoon salt 1 ta­ble­spoons white-wine vine­gar 1 cup canola oil ½ cup truf­fle oil IN­STRUC­TIONS

In Cuisi­nart, blend eggs, vine­gar and salt. Us­ing a drip tube, add oils with ma­chine run­ning. RECIPE COUR­TESY OF CHEF NATALIE JENKS


Royal Trum­pet is the trade­marked name for king oys­ter mush­rooms.


Oys­ter mush­rooms are avail­able in dif­fer­ent col­ors


Try pom pom mush­rooms as a crab or lob­ster sub­sti­tute.


Maitake is “prob­a­bly our most dif­fi­cult one,” says Linda Phillips Steller.

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