This is a National Broadcast Radio story about Kennett Square, PA.
In the late 1800s, two Quaker farmers from Kennett Square, flower growers, went to Europe, where people were already farming mushrooms, and they brought back some spores. They started growing them. A few Quakers or their descendents are still in the business today.
There’s a penetrating smell in the air, not exactly a rotting smell, more like fermenting. Tractors are rushing around like bees in a hive, turning and mixing giant steaming piles. -The priest from our church once said ‘that’s the smell of money’.
Chris Alonzo says it used to be really helpful having so many mushroom growers so close together; it made them all more efficient. But we’re so big now, he says, we’re trucking in hay for compost from a hundred miles away. There’s not nearly enough housing that our workers can afford. Maybe, he says, this mushroom capital of the world has gotten too big.
Dan Charles, NPR News.