Mushrooms: A Tennessee Crop Coming Into New Light

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 | 03:47pm
John Lawton Photo

NASHVILLE – Highly anticipated crops like pumpkins usually get all of the attention during the autumn months. Tennessee mushrooms, however, are coming out of the woodwork this season as a nutrient powerhouse.

Mushrooms provide many health benefits, including several nutrients and antibacterial properties. These fungi are typically grown outdoors during the spring and fall months. However, with the help of a controlled indoor environment, one Tennessee farmer produces several varieties year-round.   

“We cultivate 39 strains of gourmet culinary mushrooms, including multiple strains of shiitake and even a few of the medicinal varieties,” John Lawton of Possum Bottom Farms in Marion County said. “We maintain all of our cultures in our onsite lab. We also produce our own seed spawn onsite, insuring absolute quality control of our products.”

Lawton grows his mushrooms from start to finish using locally-obtained agricultural waste products, such as wheat straw, sawdust, wood chips, and logs. Like many other mushroom producers, Possum Bottom Farms strives to pick and deliver to restaurants and grocery markets in the same day. “This gives you and your customers the freshest mushrooms available by far,” Lawton said.

For a healthy lifestyle change or a robust addition to your Thanksgiving meal, take your family to a local farmers market, restaurant, or grocery store to get a taste of these delicious treats.

Go to or use the free Pick Tennessee mobile app to find a local mushroom producer or farmers market near you. Follow “PickTNProducts” on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more about current seasonal recipes, products, and activities.