Exploring the benefits of mushrooms

Joseph Iovino turned his garage into a mushroom farm and demand for his product is growing. He sells to restaurants and stores around the area.

Before starting his business, Cactus Hat Mushrooms, he wasn't a fan of the fungi.

"I hated them. My wife liked them, and I heard there were mushrooms that had different flavor profiles and textures. But when you went to Google them to find them in your area, it didn't exist. And in fact, the only way to actually get those mushrooms was to grow them, which requires learning an entire skill set and all the difficulties that come with it. So I went through that process and turns out I was good at it and turns out they did have different flavor profiles and textures. Things like Lion's Mane can taste like crab in the right setting, and they're good for you too," said Iovino.

He's even produced a coffee with the lion's mane mushrooms.

"The lion's mane adds like a creamy texture to it.  Almost as if you put creamer in it.  But there's no mushroom flavor or anything. You don't even know what's in there. It just tastes like a smooth coffee," said Iovino.

Mushroom coffee may sound unusual but it's part of a growing health trend that expands mushrooms into other products like drinks and supplements.

"We've all actually probably seen reishi grow in on dead tree stumps around stuff that one's good for immunity, and you'll find that in a lot of your immunity boosting supplements. 

Turkey tails shown to boost white blood cell count. And in a lot of cases, is used in conjunction with chemotherapy," said Iovino.

Publix is also carrying more mushroom items. 

One of the grocer's dietitians, Holly Lewis, points out yet another benefit. 

"Mushrooms also provide three of your B vitamins. Those B vitamins play an important role in your nervous system and they also help break down the food we eat and turn it into energy," said Lewis. 

Mushrooms are a powerful punch of nutrition and versatility. 

"Honestly, any uptake or increase in uptake of mushrooms is a good idea," said Iovino.

For more information about Cactus Hat Mushrooms, visit https://cactushatmushrooms.com/