Lou Caputo, who has been growing mushrooms in Kennett Square for more than 40 years, is looking for ways to get some relief from competition in China, writes Joseph DiStefano for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Caputo makes his own pressed-sawdust shiitake spawn logs by combining native red-oak sawdust with the threads mushrooms use to reproduce. Each one grows about two pounds of shiitake mushrooms, which retail for around $10 a pound.
“People are eating shiitake mushrooms that say ‘Made in USA’ that are only packaged here,” said Caputo.
He emphasized that his issue is not with the lost revenue of around $10 million a year, but misleading the American public.
However, according to the Avondale-based American Mushroom Institute, shiitake logs made in China are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s import inspection service.
Caputo has already been lobbying Penn State’s mushroom program, Gov. Tom Wolf’s office, and the U.S. Department of Commerce to restore competitive balance.
Read more about Lou Caputo’s efforts in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.