I'm generally a non-ideological supporter of local foods: while I don't necessarily think local foods make the best moral or economic sense, they are often the best products available.
Thanks for your email. You ask a good question that deserves a bit of a longer explanation.
As you may know, the mission of our markets is to support agriculture in the Chesapeake Bay Region, as such we only allow crops that are grown in the Chesapeake Bay Region to be sold at our markets. Our markets are also producer-only which means that the farmer/producer must be growing or making what they sell. The Mushroom Stand at Dupont is a long standing exception to the producer-only requirement, because mushrooms are a prized and desirable product. These mushrooms are not grown by the owner of The Mushroom Stand, but are sourced from two farms in Pennsylvania, Mother Earth Mushrooms and Phillips Mushroom Farm. Phillips Mushroom Farm is also a distributor for wild harvested and cultivated mushrooms from around the world. Recently, we noticed that The Mushroom Stand had mushrooms at market that were not grown at Phillips or Mother Earth, including hedgehog and blue foot mushrooms. Conversations with Phillips Mushroom Farm revealed that these mushrooms were from the Pacific Northwest. Phillips distributes many wild mushroom varieties, however, even with those such as morels that can grow locally, they work primarily with foragers in the Pacific Northwest. When The Mushroom Stand picks up their mushrooms from Phillips Mushroom Farm it is very difficult for them to trace the origin of the mushrooms. It became a reoccurring problem that we were seeing out of region mushrooms at The Mushroom Stand, and in order to maintain our markets as local food only markets, we decided, along with the owner of The Mushroom Stand, that it would be best if they were to bring only mushrooms that were grown at Phillips Mushroom Farm or Mother Earth Mushrooms. This unfortunately excludes morels.
While we are committed to providing customers with a diverse and quality products, we are also very committed to ensuring that our markets uphold our central mission of supporting regional agriculture and food production. We have nothing against wild-foraged foods, and in fact, we have some other farmers who do forage morels and ramps from their own land and will be bringing them to market. In fact, Spring Valley Farm and Orchard had ramps last week.
I hope that helps answer your question.