Tucked away inconspicuously in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania, a shiitake’s throw from Philadelphia, lies the town of Kennett Square, the self-proclaimed Mushroom Capital of the World. Kennett Square, however, has the bona fides to back up its boast, annually cranking out 404 million pounds of white buttons, portobellos and criminis. To celebrate its number one cash crop, each September the town hosts a two-day Mushroom Festival. Among the fungi-related events: a mushroom growers exhibit, mushroom cook-off, mushroom judging, a culinary tent (with mushroom chefs) and the national fried mushroom eating contest. Attendees can sample all manner of shroomy edibles, from the expected grilled, fried and sauteed variety to the unexpected mushroom chips, popsicles and ice cream.
“It sounds really horrible,” admits festival Administrative Coordinator Carla Lucas, “but it’s pumpkin ice cream with small chunks of frozen mushrooms. The mushrooms taste like nuts.” Delicious, apparently. Also: a 5K run or two-mile walk, old-fashioned carnival, antique and classic car show, plus music and kids activities galore. All set in a cute-as-a-button-mushroom town of 5,000. Sept. 10 and 11. Admission: $3; kids up to 12-y-o free. 888-440-9920, mushroomfestival.org
This article appears in the September 2016 issue of STYLE.