26th Annual Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, the Mushroom Capital of the World.
Recently I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the mushroom capital of the world, located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania is within an hour’s drive from our house. With our luck, it was holding its 26th annual mushroom festival this past weekend. Armed with my camera, I was ready to document this joyous event.
The festival stretched more than half-mile and featured culinary events, growing exhibits, farm tours, children’s entertainment, and nearly 200 vendors with attendance calculated at 100,000 guests.
Mushroom cultivation in the United States first began in Kennett Square (of course!) in 1896 when two local florists wanted to make more efficient use of their greenhouses by utilizing the area underneath the shelves used to grow ornamental plants. This set-up was less than ideal, however, with improvements in technology over many years, and many generations later, the cultivation of mushrooms in the United States is greater than ever.
The second thing you notice (after the mushrooms, of course) is a lot of people with chilled stainless steel mugs, and happy faces. That was old fashioned soda, buy-a-mug-drink-soda-whole-day-free deal.
We saw a lot of original folk merchandise, like those cups full of mini pumpkins and mushroom glasses.
Harvest Pumpkin Mushroom Soup
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 1 onion finely diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1/4 cup celery finely diced (about 4 stalks)
- 1 lb white mushrooms thinly sliced
- 1 can Libby's pumpkin (15 oz)
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups of water
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes (14.5 oz)
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/16 tsp cayenne pepper
In a 6 quart pot, over medium-high heat, saute the onion in melted butter for 4-5 minutes. Add diced celery and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms, saute (until dry) about 12-15 minutes. Push mushrooms mixture to side of the pot, add the canned pumpkin. Saute the pumpkin for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat careful not to burn. (This step is important to remove the "raw" pumpkin taste). Mix the pumpkin with the mushroom mixture, continue sauteing 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, water, diced tomatoes, and spices. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium or medium-low, and cook for 30 minutes, with the lid partially covering the pot.
The culmination of the day was the Mushroom soup contest. Here are some of the contestants, which all smelled so good…
Dinner with the family at the Newton’s on State Street glazed this weekend’s trip. It’s a rare treat in our days to find good quality homemade food in a restaurant. Beer Battered Fried Mushrooms with a Horseradish Cream Sauce was just the right to break for some quiet family time from the crowded street.