, Salem, MA

Local News

October 15, 2013

NH man finds huge, edible mushroom

SALEM, N.H. — Longtime Salem, N.H., business owner and resident Mario Mollica is a big mushroom lover.

He’s also a lover of big mushrooms.

So, when the 60-year-old owner of Salon 99 and Tours to Tuscany recently found a huge edible mushroom growing in the woods near his South Broadway businesses, he was excited.

“It is just unbelievable,” he said.

Mollica, who enjoys sauteing and eating mushrooms, is always scouring area woods to see how many he can find.

But they’re usually small.

This one was so big he couldn’t resist measuring it. It measured 64 inches in diameter — 2 feet long, 20 inches wide, and it weighs about 30 pounds.

“For something like this to grow that big, it’s rare,” he said.

He found the large brown mushroom, covered with ridges, at the base of a tree.

Since mushrooms easily rot in damp conditions, Mollica didn’t want to take any chances.

He lugged the mammoth mushroom back to his salon, which he has operated in Salem for 40 years. It’s also where he operates Tours to Tuscany, taking visitors to his native Italy.

“I didn’t want it to go bad,” he said.

This particular species is known by experts as maitake or grifola frondosa. But to Mollica and others, they are most often known by their nickname — “hen of the woods.”

Mollica said he’s found about 20 of this species in the past, but they were a fraction of the size. The mushroom is a delicacy worth about $16 or $17 a pound, he said.

Despite the potential profit margin, Mollica has no plans to sell this rarity.

“This one, I’m definitely going to eat,” he said.

Mollica, who grew up in the small town of Teano, north of Naples, is a lover of fine Italian cuisine.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Comments Tracker