and King Trumpet — mushrooms to many major buyers across the country. It operates several farms throughout the country. Despite recent headwinds, portabellas prevail The 1990 Farm Bill created the National Mushroom Coun- cil, which has had great success in building mushroom consumption. Given the recent economy, overall U.S. mushroom sales have suffered. But despite Covid and its related baggage, brown mushroom sales expanded. In its annual mush- room report, released in August, 2022, the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service shows a decrease in total mushroom volume and value from the previous year. The value of the 2021-22 mushroom crop fell 4% from 2020-21. “The numbers in this report reflect what we’ve seen in the industry during the past few years,” says Rachel Rob- erts, president of the American Mushroom Institute (AMI), a trade association, in the report. “Global supply chain shortages, transportation availability constraints, a dras- tically reduced farm labor market and seasonal threats of crop disease have all impacted mushroom businesses. Because the mushroom growing process integrates many other industries’ products into the growing medium for mushrooms, when availability for any single ingredient is compromised, it impacts the growers’ ability to mitigate crop threats and to maximize yields.” In the report, the USDA indicated that more than eight in 10 consumers are implementing money-saving mea- sures and that is prompting unit and volume pressure across departments. With very few exceptions, inflation

is boosting dollars while units and volume are trending around 2019 levels. Nonetheless, the USDA says, “With all the headwinds facing mushroom growers, consumer demand and interest in mushrooms continue to grow.” The statistics show increases in brown, specialty and organic mushrooms, which points to the increasingly health-conscious consumer finding more ways to cook more varieties of mushrooms and include them in daily meals. “Consumers understand that mushrooms are a force multiplier,” explains Roberts. “One package of mush- rooms sliced into a dish can offer a host of health-boosting benefits. A package of mushrooms chopped and blended into ground beef, turkey, or tofu, not only offer flavor — umami — but act as an extender for more burgers, meat- balls and more, a much-needed value add when consumers are looking for ways to address inflation.” USDA’s August report shows that combined “portabello and crimini” sales volumes totaled 188.7 million pounds in 2019-20. This rose to 192.7 million pounds the next year and to 202.6 million pounds for 2021-22. The specialty mushroom market Phillips Mushroom started producing fresh market mushrooms in 1927. Angelucci - who was appointed to the Mushroom Council board in its second year, and remained there for 18 years - said brothers Don and Marshall Phil- lips became involved in the family business in 1962. They were the first to market in tills and sell directly from the farm to retailers.

54 Vision Magazine

December 2022

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