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Healthy Mushrooms Mean Growing Demand

Kitchen Pride Farms near Gonzales ships mushrooms to groceries and markets by the ton

Since being founded in 1988 near Gonzales, Kitchen Pride Farms has ridden a growing public awareness of nutrition research identifying the health benefits of eating mushrooms. People are also learning how good fresh mushrooms taste, says Kitchen Pride founder Darrell McLain.

“With all the talk about nutritional benefits, people have realized that mushrooms are not only healthy, but they add so much to recipes,” McLain says. “They just make things taste better.”

Fresh mushrooms are fat-free, low-calorie and a good source of B vitamins and selenium, essential for the production of antioxidants. With increased demand for this healthy food source, Kitchen Pride, served by Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative, has gone through four major production expansions. Today, it grows more than 225,000 pounds of mushrooms a week that are shipped to major grocery store chains across Texas and sold in numerous farmers markets. Because they are grown in climate-controlled rooms, the farm delivers fresh mushrooms year-round

McLain says increased demand promises to continue: “Consumers are trying new things like substituting mushrooms for meat or trying mushrooms in different things like breakfast tacos. Growing awareness means we need to grow more to keep up.”

Visit kitchenpride.com to learn how mushrooms are grown. The site also lists farmers markets where you can buy Kitchen Pride mushrooms and provides recipes, including the one below for a healthy dish with salmon and mushrooms.

Mushroom, Edamame and Salmon Penne

4 cups uncooked penne pasta
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, diced
16 ounces frozen shelled edamame (soybeans)
4 sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white wine or water
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1 pound skinless salmon, cut into 6 strips

  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a single layer of mushrooms and onion and cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms become red-brown on one side. Flip mixture and cook about 5 minutes more, until other side is the same color.
  • Add edamame and stir. Add tomatoes and sprinkle with flour and salt; stir for 3 to 4 minutes to slightly cook the flour. Pour in wine or water and broth and stir to integrate flour into the liquid. Cook until sauce thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • In a separate skillet, sear salmon in remaining olive oil about 3 minutes on each side.
  • Add cooked pasta to mushroom mixture and gently stir to combine. Heat until thoroughly warm and top with salmon strips to serve.

Servings: 6. Serving size: 1/6 of dish plus 1 salmon strip. Per serving: 610 calories, 31.4 g protein, 15 g fat, 72.6 g carbohydrates, 12.6 g dietary fiber, 571 mg sodium, 5.6 g sugars, 41 mg cholesterol

January 2014 Recipe Contest