Exploring the Brandywine: Kennett Square

A few miles to the west of the Brandywine River lies Kennett Square -- a special town (and surrounding township) which is, among many other things, home to our order fulfillment operation.
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As the self-styled “Mushroom Capital of the World," Kennett Square has deep agricultural roots.  In truth, Chinese mushroom cultivation exceeds that of the United States by roughly an order of magnitude; however, more than 40% of US production is handpicked either in Kennett Square or in a number of neighboring towns (Toughkenamon, Avondale, West Grove, Oxford, and Nottingham, most notably, with a few holdouts remaining in the rapidly suburbanizing town of Hockessin, Delaware).  The odds are good, if you have ever eaten mushrooms on the eastern side of the Mississippi, that they were likely grown right here.
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Without question, Kennett Square’s best-known attraction is Longwood Gardens.  One of those rare places for which even the highest superlatives fail to do justice, Longwood was originally the private estate of Pierre S. du Pont – the one-time Chairman of both E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) and General Motors (GM).  Decades before his death, however, du Pont generously opened Longwood to the public – and today it is known across the world for its horticultural display gardens, fountain shows, and seasonal light displays.
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Situated just a few miles north and east of the Mason-Dixon Line, Kennett Square and the surrounding area played a material role in the Underground Railroad before and during the Civil War.  A single home, the Fussell House, is thought to have sheltered more than 2,000 slaves as they made their way north – and dozens of other homes and meeting houses in the area are known to have assisted thousands more.  During the warmer months, tours of many of the different locations are available.
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If you are ever in southern Chester County, I strongly encourage you to take a few hours and stop into Kennett Square.  The main drag, State Street, is idyllic -- replete with charming storefronts and excellent restaurants.  If you are looking to get a reservation at Talula's Table though, be sure to prepare ahead: you'll need to call them tomorrow morning at 7AM sharp to get a reservation for that very date...the following year!
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