I have a degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland. I started my career as an aide to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, and then working in the association world for about 15 years, as Director of Communications for a variety of associations, including the American Insurance Association, The Beer Institute, the American Bus Association, along with a few others. Here at American Mushroom Institute, I'm the editor of Mushroom News, one of the longest-running ag publications in the country, as well as head of communications which include industry relations, advocacy communications, and more.
I would say that the job led me to agriculture; and not vice versa. But I see that as a benefit. I bring a skill to the industry — maybe it's not from a farming background — but I can still contribute. I've learned a lot about mushroom growing — and still am learning — and even more about agriculture as a whole. The biggest point is that agriculture and farming needs such a wide variety of skills and jobs, just because you may not have a background in agriculture doesn't mean there's not a place for you.
Mushrooms have this mystery about them. We're seeing more and more focus on them in the media, but they do have a mystical quality to them. When it comes to how mushrooms get to people's plate, my guess is most people don't realize how intricate the growing process is for mushrooms — specifically commercial mushrooms. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't really know before I started working here! And, most people probably don't realize that just about every mushroom harvested in the U.S. is harvested by hand.
When it comes to nutrition — mushrooms are a superfood — packed with tons of vitamins. One fun fact is that a portabella mushroom has more Potassium than a medium banana!
Well, I always keep sliced brown mushrooms in my fridge — in a brown paper bag; they last longer that way — and throw them into scrambled eggs, sauces, ground beef…really anything. But I make a pretty good stuffed mushroom, I'll rarely pass up mushroom soup, and lightly breaded and fried oyster mushrooms are really good!