"I attended a two-day intensive seminar at the Culinary Institute of America in
New York City recently," Fred Recchiuti, general manager of Basciani
Mushroom Farms in Avondale, PA, told The Produce News July 6. “Some of the
feedback I got from the chefs who were in attendance was that Portabella
mushrooms are almost too big today. It was mentioned that it's too bad that
a petite Portabella — one that could be eaten in just a few bites — wasn’t
available that could fit onto a slider.”
Sliders are small hamburgers usually served three or four to an order, and are
most frequently found on appetizer and bar menus. They have become
increasingly popular in recent years because people can share one or two
orders as a snack or appetizer without committing to a main dish-sized
Mr. Recchiuti heeded the advice of the professional chefs and brought the
information back to his company. Basciani Mushroom Farms went right to
work on harvesting the right size Portabellas, and in short time it was ready
to introduce two new items: slider-size petite Portabellas and hickory smoked
“We are the mushroom foodservice specialists, and we recognize that
restaurant guests are demanding more complex flavors and more bite sized
morsels,” company President Michael Basciani said in a July 4 press release
introducing the new mushroom. “That’s why we also offer the new petite
Portabella in a hickory smoked version. This works well for many menu items,
not just for sliders. They are perfect for main dishes like pastas with cream
sauce or even an up-sell side order for steaks. And the cost per serving is
Founded in 1925, and now in its fourth generation of family management,
Basciani Mushroom Farms prides itself on consistently high-quality fresh
mushrooms as well as its focus on fast service.
Today the company grows, packs and ships over a million pounds of
mushrooms each week. Its extensive product line includes all sizes of white
mushrooms and exotics. It packs for national retail grocery store chains as
well as for foodservice distributors.
The company also has processing and storage facilities in Chicago and
In 1970, Basciani and other investors bought The Mushroom Co. in
Cambridge, MD, a processing facility, in order to control an outlet for
secondary product. This enables Basciani to provide the highest quality fresh
prime mushrooms to customers.
“This is not a business where you get a scheduled vacation,” said Mr. Basciani.
“It’s a year-round, 24-hour, seven-day-a-week business. It’s labor-
intensive, and everyone at the company does back-breaking work. You don’t
last four generations in a family business without family values being of
paramount importance. Hard work is one of those values.”
Hard work and dedication to its company have paid off for Basciani Mushroom
The company was recently featured on the Discovery Channel’s Epicurious
program and on the Public Broadcasting System’s American Heartland show.
The company also offers three-minute video tours of its operations on its web
site and at trade shows.
The company’s total quality assurance HACCP scores are consistently in the
upper 90 percentile range.
“Today, more than ever, foodservice operators want more complex flavors at
lower per serving costs, and they are looking for ways to reduce preparation
time in the kitchen,” said Mr. Recchiuti. “We’re talking to some menu-
development people about limited time offers, possibly leading to permanent
menu items. We suggest foodservice operators get their menu development
teams involved and call us for more information.”