Pennsylvania again led the nation in mushroom production during the 2019-2020 growing season.
The state sold 526 million pounds of mushrooms worth $548 million, two-thirds of the nation’s total.
Sales and production volume have declined the past two years, though the American Mushroom Institute, a trade group, said the recent decline was connected with the coronavirus pandemic.
Restaurant closures in March caused a sudden drop in orders.
“To adjust to the uncertainty, mushroom growers made the decision to scale back crops in order to sustain the health of their businesses,” said Rachel Roberts, the institute’s president.
While food service demand is still down, retail mushroom sales are up — way up.
From April to July, research firm IRI found weekly mushroom sales increases were consistently over 20% compared to the same week in 2019.
Only two other crops — oranges and limes — saw similar increases, said Mark Lang, associate professor of marketing at the University of Tampa.
Pennsylvania’s mushroom industry is based in Kennett Square and nearby communities.