Santa Clara County: Valley of Fungal Delight

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. — You may not know it, but Santa Clara County is a mushroom mecca.

More mushrooms are grown here than almost anywhere else in the country. Last year, a handful of county growers produced 17,499 tons of them, from the usual whites and browns to less common varieties like oyster and shiitake, for a total of $79 million.
Mushrooms are nutritious – packed with vitamins and antioxidants – and increasingly prized by foodies. 

Photos of mushrooms grown in Santa Clara County
Santa Clara County growers produce a variety of edible mushrooms, including these oyster mushrooms. County Agricultural Commissioner Joe Deviney visits with Robert Van Tassle, operations manager at Countryside Mushrooms in Morgan Hill.

They’re appealing to Santa Clara County farmers because you can grow a lot of them in a small area – on stacked trays in dark and climate-controlled rooms. Last year, county growers produced 132 tons of mushrooms per acre compared with 5.5 tons per acre for broccoli, for example, and 32 tons per acre for wax and chili peppers. 

“Mushrooms are a valuable crop,” said Joe Deviney, the County’s Agricultural Commissioner. “You can grow them year-round, not just once per year, as is this the case with many other crops.”

California is second among U.S. states to Pennsylvania in mushroom production. Among California counties, Santa Clara County has lately trailed only neighboring Monterey County in fungi farming. 

So, when you see a mushroom in your local grocery store or on your pizza, there’s a good chance it was grown right here in the area once known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight. 

To learn more about agriculture in Santa Clara County, check out the County’s 2021 Crop Report

By Aaron Kinney, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

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