Selling at Farmers Markets

If you plan to sell mushrooms at a farmers market, be aware that you may be asked to prove that the cultivated mushrooms being sold are from a non-wild-type source. Documentation could mean receipts/proof of transaction/receival of spawn from a commercial source, agar plates, or other types of mycelium culture with date, invoice, and price.

  • Cultivated mushrooms or commercially raised mushrooms (common button mushroom, portabella, shiitake, enoki, bavarian) must have documentation detailing their source.
  • Wild-type mushroom species picked in the wild shall not be offered for sale or distribution. 

Cottage Food Law and Specialty Mushrooms

Illinois wild-harvested mushrooms are not allowed in any cottage food products. Illinois wild-type mushrooms that are intentionally cultivated such as morels, which are generally wild-foraged by mushroom enthusiasts everywhere but have been successfully grown intentionally in beds, may start to make this law more challenging for regulators. Illinois Extension provides information on its Cottage Food website.

Morels are currently assumed to be wild foraged but that is not always the case anymore, due to advances in mycology across the US.

  • If a grower is cultivating and harvesting morel mushrooms, it is recommended that the grower keep records and documentation of the source of the spawn, as they would for the accepted cultivated mushroom species if a receipt could be provided.
What if a health regulator encounters a grower selling morels?

A conversation would need to take place between the regulator and the grower, ensuring that the grower is cultivating those morels in questions, and growers may need to either show regulators their morel cultivation area, receipts for morel spawn from known mushroom cultivation supply dealers, or perhaps both, depending on the situation.

Can I use specialty cultivated mushrooms as an ingredient in an Illinois cottage food item?

The Cottage Food Law currently says no wild mushrooms may be used as ingredients, but if you use cultivated mushrooms in your foodstuffs, you have to obey every aspect of cottage food requirements, such as detailing the source of those mushrooms through receipts of purchased genetic material: spawn, agar, liquid culture, etc.

  • Details: If a mushroom farm chooses to produce CULTIVATED mushrooms and use them as an ingredient in cottage food, or a vendor that a mushroom farm does business with chooses to do so, that vendor must show proof of those mushrooms having come from a cultivated course, if asked to do so.
  • Cottage Food Law compliance as regards cultivated mushrooms as an ingredient is easily dealt with via an invoice between one business and the other.
  • Some specialty mushroom businesses in other states actually run multiple sub-businesses for this reason; they can show they are selling specialty mushrooms from a farm business to a cottage food business