One organization was developed to coordinate the actions of independent growers and act on behalf of the mushroom industry as a whole. The American Mushroom Institute was brought to life by the Chester County, Pennsylvania growers. Unfortunately, the first meeting for the development of the AMI was held December 4, 1941, only three days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. With America’s involvement in World War II, this new mushrooms growers’ organization was put on hold.
After the war was over and things began settling down for the nation, the American Mushroom Institute was finally officially organized with over 275 growers signed up to join. In January 14, 1955, AMI was legally incorporated as a non-profit organization.
Their goal was to promote the consumption of all cultivated mushrooms through research, advertising, publicity, merchandising, consumer education and government relations as well as to assist the industry in developing better growing and handling methods.
Every broadcast medium was employed to promote mushrooms, radio, television, magazines and newspapers told of different ways to eat them. Even produce stores and supermarket chains were displaying mushroom merchandising posters. The American public was learning that mushrooms weren’t something just used to garnish steaks. The AMI promoted recipes that used mushrooms in casseroles, appetizers, salads and other combinations. These were the first organized marketing efforts of the American Mushroom Institute.