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Pennsylvania ranks no. 1 for producing mushrooms and craft beer

Mary Ann Thomas
| Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, 5:54 p.m.
Craft beer is big in Pennsylvania.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Craft beer is big in Pennsylvania.

Thinking about edible fungi or craft beer? You likely are if you are from Pennsylvania, which ranks as the country's largest producer of mushrooms with a whopping 577 million pounds in 2016, according to a bulletin released this month from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Most mushroom production is clustered around Kennett Square, Chester County, known as the mushroom capital of the world, said William R. Nichols, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Another state agricultural ranking puts the commonwealth in first place for craft beer.

The York Daily Record this year reported that the state produces enough craft beer to get the entire state drunk twice.

Data from the Brewers Associations shows that more than a billion bottles of beer are produced in the state, enough to give every American over the age of 21 over six drinks, according to the newspaper.

For all agricultural products, the state's production numbers and rankings are similar to other years, Nichols said.

Pennsylvania ranked highly for other products as well, according to USDA:

-Fourth in the nation for grapes, 91,000 tons; eggs, 8.21 billion, and apples, 439 million pounds.

-Sixth in the nation for maple syrup, 139,000 gallons; and milk, 10.8 billion pounds.

Nichols added that grape production is largely clustered along the Lake Erie shore, and most grapes go for juice and jelly production, not wines.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture added more products where Pennsylvania ranks high nationally in the last year or so including:

-First in craft beer, 3.9 million barrels; and hardwood saw timber, 117 billion board ft.

-First in number of farms and acres of farmland preserved with almost 545,000 acres on 5,242 farms in 59 counties and more than $1.4 billion invested in keeping farmland for farming for the future, as of December 2017.

-Second in sales of certified organic commodities.

-Second largest number of deer farms in the country, behind Texas.

-Fourth in Christmas trees, 32,000 acres; corn for silage, 8.2 million tons; and laying hens, 25.9 million.

“On the whole, we've been inching up in production year-by-year,” Nichols said.

However, ranking for milk production slipped from fifth to sixth place while actual production increased. Michigan bested the commonwealth with significant gains in milk production, Nichols said.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4691, or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.

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