History of Kennett Steak & Mushroom's Owners

Lou Caputo and Jeffrey (Herb) Guest (brothers-in-law) are natives of Kennett Square area.  However, as Mushrooms Growers they unlike most growers were not born into the industry.  Lou’s father was an Insurance Salesman and Jeff’s father worked at NVF. 

Jeff’s childhood years had been spent working for ACA Mushroom Company and Dick Crossan.  Lou Caputo’s childhood years were spent working with the Basciani Family in the Mushroom Industry.  He worked from the time he was 11 years old watering manure, cutting and picking mushrooms, packing and casing.  In 1977 he graduated from high school and together Lou and Jeff put up $8,000.00 each and with the help of their parents and friends bought three 70 year old mushroom houses from Guy and Tony DiNorscia which was the start of Caputo & Guest Mushrooms.  Their primary business at that time was growing the White Button Mushroom.

Within one year they had seven double mushroom houses and were well on their way to success.  However by 1988 the white button industry was starting to decline due to the import of white mushrooms from China and by 1989 they feared their entrepreneurship was facing bankruptcy.  However they were determined not to fail and the two partners decided to dabble in the Exotic Mushroom business.

Jeff learned a thing or two about many types of  Exotic Mushrooms primarily Shitaki, Portabello, Criminis, Maitaki and Oyster mushrooms.  In 1991 Caputo and Guest teamed up with Rich Angelucci and formed Pennsylvania Exotic Mushrooms Sales, Inc.  They created the sliced Portabello and the packaged Portabello Cap.  Over the next five years Pennsylvania Exotic Mushrooms became one of the largest growers and shippers of Exotic Mushrooms.  In 1996 they sold Pennsylvania Exotics to another local grower Phillips Mushrooms.  After the sale to Phillips, Caputo & Guest continued on their own forming Kennett Square Specialities, the largest Shitaki  Log  Maker in North America currently producing 50% of the fresh domestic Shitaki Mushrooms.

Recently the pair purchased another existing business called Highland Oysters and built a state of the art facility to produce Oyster Mushroom bags.  Their three companies Caputo & Guest, Kennett Square Specialities & Highland Oysters are responsible for the production of over 200,000 pounds of Exotic Mushrooms weekly.  They are seen among the locals as truly the most successful mushrooms growers in the area.  If you are the Kennett Square area perhaps you have heard of them or know them personally.


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