Farm Show's "Mush-Room" Booth Rich in Content

Posted: January 20, 2016

M.S. Student Garrett Morrison gives an in-depth look at PA Farm Show's "Mush-Room" booth.
(L-R) Garrett Morrison, Carolee Bull, Kimberly Paley

(L-R) Garrett Morrison, Carolee Bull, Kimberly Paley


This year marked Pennsylvania’s 100th Annual Farm Show, which was held in the state capital from January 9 -16. Volunteers from the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology (PPEM) were in high demand at the Farm Show’s "Mush-Room" booth, including:

  • Carolee Bull, Department Head
  • Sara Getson, Plant Pathology minor
  • Rob Harvey, Ph.D. Student
  • Mena Hautau, Berks County Extension Educator
  • Garrett Morrison, M.S. Student
  • Kimberly Paley, Mushroom Research Center technician
  • Laura Ramos-Sepulveda, Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Fabrício Vieira, Visiting Ph.D. Student
  • Kaixi Zhao, Ph.D. Student

Professor of Mushrooms Dr. David Beyer trekked across the state gathering farmers' highest-quality products for showcasing and judging by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) Secretary Tina Ellor. Cooking recipes, nutritional facts, uses for spent mushroom substrate (SMS), and fungal-oriented games prompted passersby to stop and chat. Meanwhile, future farmers, young scientists, teachers, and persons of all ages waited in line for a chance to look through the onsite microscope, which provided a rare view of the often overlooked field of fungal biology.

The most common questions from attendees:

  • How are mushrooms grown?
  • How can I grow mushrooms?
  • Why does Pennsylvania grow so many mushrooms?
  • Why should I eat mushrooms?
  • How do I identify edible mushrooms? Poisonous ones?
  • Why do you love mushrooms?

Penn State has played an integral role in the mushroom industry since the early 1900s, when it was the first and only Land Grant College to provide a comprehensive research program in the area of mushroom cultivation. This early and ongoing effort contributes to Pennsylvania’s ranking as the nation’s number one provider of mushrooms, accounting for over 60 percent of all mushrooms produced in the United States. The Farm Show’s "Mush-Room" booth, sponsored by Pennsylvania’s mushroom farmers, industry representatives, and the Mushroom Research Center at Penn State, presented Farm Show attendees with an in-depth look into the fundamentals of mushroom cultivation and background into our state’s rich history within the mushroom industry.