Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer appointed three members in October to serve on the Mushroom Council. They will serve three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2009 and ending on Dec. 31, 2011.
C. Gregory Sagan, Region 2, of Plymouth, Minnesota, is a newly appointed member. Reappointed members are: Greg McLain, Region 1, Gonzales, Texas, and Hank VanderPol, Region 5, Blenheim, Ontario, Canada.
Authorized under the Mushroom Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act of 1990, the Mushroom Council administers a national promotion, research and consumer information program to maintain and expand markets for fresh mushrooms. The council is composed of fresh market producers or importers who average more than 500,000 pounds of mushrooms produced or imported annually. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service monitors the operations of the council.
More information about research and promotion programs can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/fv/rpb.html.
About the Mushroom Council
In 1990, the Mushroom Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act was passed by Congress to strengthen the mushroom industry’s position in the marketplace, maintain and expand existing markets and uses for mushrooms, and develop new markets and uses for mushrooms. In 1993, the Mushroom Council was established to carry out the direction of this act.
The Council started out with a meagre budget and a lot of inspiration about promoting mushrooms. They began doing research to closely define the mushroom user which became the foundation for all of their communication efforts. Once the ground work was laid, a successful promotions program began to shape.
Immediate targets for consumer communication were food editors of newspapers and magazines, TV and radio personalities, chefs and cookbook writers. Mushroom recipes went out to hundreds of venues each year — thus increasing consumer awareness and demands for literature on mushrooms. In 1996 the Mushroom Council made the pages of more than ten national women’s magazines including Family Circle, Women’s Day and Good Housekeeping.
Today, the Mushroom Council plays a very important role in the national promotion of fresh mushrooms through consumer public relations, foodservice communications and retail communications. Many different venues are used in promoting fresh mushrooms to consumers such as working with professional chefs in developing and promoting new recipes, working with produce department managers to maintain the highest quality mushroom product for customers and sending out thousands of brochures each year to consumers hungry for new mushroom ideas. Thanks to the Mushroom Council, mushrooms have their own month to be honoured and eaten. September is National Mushroom Month.
Today mushrooms are commercially produced in virtually every state. Pennsylvania, however, still accounts for 61% of total U.S. production, which in 2006/07 reached 827 million pounds. From the caves of Paris to the dinner tables of millions of Americans, fresh mushrooms have come out of the dark and into a spotlight that’s intensity is ever increasing.
Source: US Department of Agriculture (USDA)