September 2023 Newsletter

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The Mushroom Messenger

KCG Monthly Newsletter: September 2023

Bringing you monthly news of the Kennett Community Grocer, a growing Food Co-op committed to local food, community, and culture.

Hello to our Member-Owners and Friends!

In this edition:
  • Board Updates
  • Mushroom Feature and Discount Deal
  • September Happy Hour
  • September Co-op Box

During the week of Sept. 11-16, the Woodlands gift shop at Phillips Mushroom Farms (1020 Kaolin Rd.) will offer a 10% discount to shoppers who show a Kennett Community Grocer membership card at the time of purchase.
See below for a special feature about this local company, the source of the Phillips' dried mushrooms in your August Co-op box.


We are currently at a member-owner count of 328. It is a good number but, with a growth rate of approximately 6 members per month, needs to increase. Our goal remains 500 Member-Owners by the end of 2023.

We now have a membership referral bonus for any current Member-Owner who successfully recruits a friend or neighbor to join. (See details below.)

To finance the leasing of a space and the hiring of a General Manager to get the store up and running, we will need all of our present (and growing) member-owner financial equity AND a successful Capital Campaign, set to begin in the near future. We will partner with an experienced food-co-op Fiscal Sponsor to create the platform to raise funds in the Capital Campaign. If you have experience with fundraising and/or Capital Campaigns, please contact us at [email protected] as soon as possible. We welcome your assistance as we put this team together. Please check out our Google Sign-up for Volunteers for this and other opportunities.



The KCG Board of Directors met on August 14 by Zoom. We were joined by three Member-Owners who brought valuable contributions and insight towards furthering our goals. Reminder: all Member-Owners are invited to join in on Board meetings and contribute to the work of creating our store. September’s board meeting will be on Monday, September 11. See the KCG events calendar for the Zoom link.

Our Board currently consists of the following members:
Edie Burkey, President
Britton Elwood, Vice-President
Greg Danchik, Treasurer
Erin Selfe, Secretary
Tracy Bhalla
Paige Britton
Lindsay Cook
Adam Peterson
Tom Sausen
Henry Schlimme
Beth Tumas
There is one vacant seat

August’s meeting included the President’s report on the success of reorganizing the committee structure into separate committees for Communications, Events, and Business Advisory. All three Committees have been successful in embracing their work and recruiting volunteers to help. Each Committee meets once a month by Zoom for a one-hour call.
  • The Communications team, led by Adam Peterson, is divided into five areas including social media, Newsletter, KCG Co-op Box, Website, and Graphics/videos/ photos. Please be in touch if you could help with periodic social media posts: [email protected]

  • The Events Committee, led by Rachel Warren, is responsible for creating, organizing and executing our in-person gathering and tabling events including recruiting and nurturing the volunteers involved. The Events Committee now has a SignUpGenius for helping with events.

  • The Business Advisory Committee, led by Tom Sausen, is responsible for our site selection process, business plan and planned Capital Campaign.

Can you spare some time to help this Co-op grow? There are volunteer opportunities for everyone and every schedule. To find out more, go to the Volunteer Interest page of the KCG website or send an email to [email protected].
Only YOU the Member-Owners can jointly make the store happen.

Week of September 11-16:
Discount for KCG Members at The Woodlands

Monday, September 11, 7 pm: KCG Board Meeting. Public welcome. See Zoom link on the KCG Events Calendar.

Wednesday, September 13, 5 to 7 pm: Happy Hour Social at Victory Brewing. Prospective members welcome! And, if you are a new Member-Owner, please come by to meet fellow KCG members. Have a free beer and enjoy the company, and please consider bringing a friend who is interested in joining us. (See referral offer above.) We look forward to as many people as possible coming. Together we can create the momentum for expanding our membership.

Thursday, September 21, 5:30-9pm: Third Thursday. Kennett Collaborative's community nights continue in September and October. Stop by KCG's information table. State St., Kennett Square.

Sunday, September 24, 12 pm: Order deadline for September KCG Co-op Box. This month's box:
Saturday, September 30, 10 am-12pm: Co-op box pick up. Friends Meeting House at 125 W. Sickle Street in Kennett Square

Save the Date: Friday, October 27, 6-8pm: KCG Celebration and Annual Meeting
Note: The Volunteer Appreciation event scheduled for August was postponed. Watch your email for a new date.
Pre-Order Your Co-op Box
SPECIAL FEATURE:  Phillips Mushroom Farms

Happy September—the USDA’s National Mushroom Month!

People who aren’t from Kennett Square generally know two things about us: Kennett Square is home to Longwood Gardens and Kennett Square is the Mushroom Capital of the World. The second distinction may be self-proclaimed but with good reason. Roughly half of the mushrooms produced in the US come from Kennett and the surrounding region. The top crop in Pennsylvania—whose #1 business is agriculture—is mushrooms.

Phillips Mushroom Farms have been part of the commercial mushroom business in our area since 1927. William Phillips established the business and became one of the first farm-to-market producers. Phillips continues to be a family business with the fourth generation now deeply involved. They currently farm in six facilities, five in Pennsylvania and one in Maryland, and produce over 57 million pounds of mushrooms a year.

KCG volunteers recently paid a visit to Phillips, meeting up with Jill Phillips Gray and General Manager Jim Angelucci in the beautiful and well-stocked gourmet store, The Woodlands, housed in a lovingly restored 1828 farmhouse on Kaolin Road (where there is also a small mushroom museum). Jim, who joined the company in 1973, generously offered up his wealth of experience. His deep love of and commitment to the business came through clearly in his discussion of its history and growth.

Jim shared details about the varieties of mushrooms Phillips produces, including button, crimini, portabella, shiitake, maitake, Royal Trumpet, and lion’s mane, and some of the health benefits of mushrooms and mushroom supplements. Maitake mushrooms in particular contain nutrients that benefit the immune system and may have cancer fighting properties. And we learned about the acres and acres of growing systems housed in state-of-the-art facilities on their six farms.

While the size of Phillips’ operation makes it a big-time player, it remains a local business in its commitment to its workers and to its community. The company lends its support to Chester County Hospital, the Kennett Library (both of whom are also KCG partners), and, of course, the Mushroom Festival, coming up this weekend: September 9 and 10.

We are grateful to Phillips for contributing to our August Co-op Box and to Linda Phillips Steller for the Mushroom Risotto recipe included below. And don't forget to use the Member-Owner discount noted above!

As we have said before, Kennett Square is fortunate to be situated in the midst of many local food producers and distributors. KCG will be sure to draw on these resources and the relationships as our grocery store moves towards opening and our membership continues to…mushroom.

Image links to pdf


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