Kennett Square store owner celebrating all things fungi in mushroom capital of the world

KENNETT SQUARE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- In 2004, Kathi Lafferty opened a mushroom-centric store in the heart of Kennett Square, PA, naming it The Mushroom Cap. She says since the town is known as being the Mushroom Capital of the World, the name "just kind of fit."

"I advertise fresh mushrooms, gifts, collectibles, and gourmet mushroom products," she said.

For Lafferty, fungi are a family business.

"Growing up here, it was all about mushrooms. My dad had a business and he worked for the mushroom growers," she said.

Her husband, Tom, also used to grow mushrooms on the family farm, which was started by his dad back in 1946.

"His sons all got into the business," said Lafferty. The business was called P A Lafferty & Sons, Incorporated.

Most of Lafferty's fresh mushrooms come from local farms and her selection is an eclectic mix.

She offers varying sizes of white mushrooms in her store, along with cremini mushrooms, also known as baby bellas.

She also carries some of the more exotic varieties, like royal trumpet and maitake. Lafferty says the maitake mushrooms have "a lot of health benefits."

Foraged mushrooms are also available in the store. Currently, she has chicken of the woods, a mushroom Lafferty describes as having "the texture of chicken," thus its name.

The Mushroom Cap has a little something mushroom for everybody.

She carries a mushroom salad, which is her recipe, along with many other food products like pasta and pasta sauce. "It tastes like how my grandmother taught me to make sauce," said Lafferty.

There are mushrooms in everything from coffee to ketchup.

"They've come up with more mushroom-related items because people are wanting it," said Lafferty. "There's a lot of truffle products here."

And she says she's always on the lookout for unique items, like mushroom-growing kits that grow oyster mushrooms right out of the box.

Lafferty dedicates a portion of her store to preserving the history of the mushroom industry in the area to give visitors a chance to see how mushroom farms operate.

"I love this town.I could be retired now, but I don't know what I would do," she said.

For the foreseeable future, Lafferty says she will be running The Mushroom Cap to bring all things fungi to those who visit the town. "We like that claim, Mushroom Capital of the World. We're going to use it for as long as we can," she says.

The 36th Annual Kennett Square Mushroom Festival also begins this weekend. For more information, visit: https://mushroomfestival.org/
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