Industry Chronicles

strong production and marketing efforts were underway from both U.S. coasts. Stephan, who works from Minneapolis, said porta - bella is a broadly used name that is not trademarked. Portabellini is a marketing name Monterey owns for medium-sized, less mature portabellas. At an early stage, Phillips Mushrooms lost the rights to Portabellini. Monterey has trademarked the Baby Bella name. At one time Monterey marketed Baby Bella as “Golden” mush - rooms. Baby Bellas are the smallest of Monterey’s porta - bella offerings. Monterey’s background materials show that the brown mushroom family “has many children.” It adds: “Some of the most well-known are the big three: portabellas, Porta - bellinis and Baby Bellas.” The only difference is their size when they’re harvested and packed. Portabellas range from three inches to six inches in diameter and are grown the longest to reach their size. Monterey’s Baby Bella has the smallest cap size of the three, oftentimes the size of a half-dollar or a quarter. Portabellini caps are between the size of a Baby Bella and a portabella, around two and half inches in diameter. Mon - terey offers Portabellini as “the perfect ‘slider size’ mushroom.” Monterey explains that during the growing process Portabellinis are harvested to thin the beds to free up space for portabellas to expand.

Stephan credits the Dutch for bringing the culture to the United States for producing fresh mushrooms. It followed for many years that white mushrooms were the standard. Meanwhile, brown mushrooms were popular in Italy. There, the Crimini family, which is also spelled Cremini, produced brown mushrooms. Stephan said bright white mushrooms were considered the most attractive mushrooms. The industry then pre - sumed that white was the color preferred by consumers. He noted that in a blind taste test, only trained profes - sional tasters might be able to detect a taste difference between brown and white mushrooms. But there is no question that brown mushrooms have a denser texture. Monterey Mushrooms is owned by Shah Kazemi. Occhipinti notes that Kazemi also is president of Amy - cel, a San Juan Bautista, CA-based company that sells spawn-substrate that already has mushroom culture growing on it. Amycel produces portabella spawn, selling not only to Monterey, but its competitors. Today, Amycel spawn produces 85 percent of all portabellas sold in the United States. Occhipinti says Amycel breeds spawn through a selec - tion process “like you would breed dogs, taking the best features of two parents.” Today, Monterey Mushrooms grow and sell white, por - tabella and specialty — Shiitake, Baby Bellas/Brown, Oys - ter, Enoki, Woodear, Maitake, Brown Beech, White Beech

With their meaty texture, Portabella mushrooms can be used in the place of hamburger patties.

Vision Magazine 53

December 2022

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