What makes it gourmet and not just a mushroom?

Mushrooms are fungi. The part we eat is the "fruit" of the fungus. 

Common mushrooms: White button and brown button are the most common mushrooms. Other common varieties include crimini baby-bella and portabella. Common mushrooms are part of the Agaricus family.

Gourmet mushrooms: Gourmet mushrooms are distinctive for their unique flavor, shape, and texture. Scientifically, they are not part of the Agaricus family. Gourmet mushrooms grow on hardwood substrates, grow bags, or blocks. Specialty mushroom varieties commonly sold in Illinois include many different types of oyster mushroom, such as blue, pink, golden oyster, and others; shiitake, lion’s mane, chestnut, king oyster, Hen of the Woods, and more. These species have been studied sufficiently to be able to mimic their complex growth habits of the wild in controlled conditions

Demand for gourmet mushrooms is growing, not just in Illinois but regionally and nationally, due to their amazing flavor profiles, textures, nutritional profiles, and other factors. Illinois growers have a unique opportunity to cash in on this demand. Reach out to your local Illinois Extension educator with questions about how you can achieve success growing this intriguing, complex crop.

Mature Bucket Mushrooms
Mature bucket-oyster mushrooms. Photo by Nick Frillman
baby bella mushrooms
Baby Bella Mushrooms