Appeal, No. 98, Jan. T., 1958, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, Jan. T., 1956, No. 78, in case of Pietro Gaspari et al. v. Board of Adjustment of the Township of Muhlenberg. Order reversed.
George B. Balmer, with him Harry W. Speidel, Raymond C. Schlegel, and Snyder, Balmer & Kershner, for appellants.
Joseph E. DeSantis, for appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno, Jones and Cohen, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO
Prior to recent years, commercially grown mushrooms obtained most of their substance, but fortunately, not their flavor, from horse manure. Professor Leon Russell Kneebone of the Pennsylvania State University, who has charge of the Mushroom Experimental Station at that university, testified in this case: "... The Mushroom is a plant but it is not a plant like a green plant which needs only sun, light, water, carbon dioxide from the air; the mushroom would never
be able to grow. The mushroom must be fed more like an animal is fed because it cannot make its own food. It must be fed special. The compost is that kind of material. The traditional method was horse manure."
With the advent of the motor age which brought in its train the disbandment of the cavalry by the United States Army, the abandonment in most cities of mounted police, the emancipation of brewery wagon percherons, and the general substitution of gasoline as fuel for vehicles theretofore horse-drawn, it was only natural that considerably less horse manure was produced. As a consequence, the mushroom industry faced a crisis. Thus, do many seemingly unrelated subjects bear heavily upon the fate of one another.
However, science came to the rescue with the invention or development of an artificial manure which has become known as synthetic compost. This object of man's fertile ingenuity seems to fulfill all the requirements of alimentation and agricultural growth associated with horse manure, that is, insofar as mushrooms are concerned, and it has, therefore, practically supplanted the earthier product. In fact, one of the plaintiffs here, Anthony Gaspari, testified that he would not use horse manure if he could get it for nothing.
Arthur Gaspari and his two brothers, Pietro and Gino, own 17 acres of land south of Frush Valley Road in Muhlenberg Township, Berks County. Since 1929 the Gaspari land has been utilized for the growing of mushrooms for sale. Beginning with 1933 the Gasparis have also engaged in the sale of mushroom supplies as mushroom paper, mushroom wire, baskets, manure baskets, wash tubs of all sizes, ground tubs, ...