Harvest and Packaging
Mushrooms are grown on more than 100 farms in Canada, with over one-third located in British Columbia-mostly in the Fraser Valley, an agriculturally rich region about 100 km west of Vancouver and 60 km north of the US border.
Growing a Mushroom:
It takes about 12 weeks to cultivate a mushroom. The art of producing a quality mushroom lies in the right mix of weather conditions and humidity, soil quality, spores and biosecurity management.
We have dedicated over 260,000 sq.ft. to our growing area which includes 40 specially insulated barns each with eight wooden frame growing beds. Because mushrooms can be grown and harvested all year around, our growing rooms are lined up on different growing cycles so that we always have a continuous supply of mushrooms to harvest and package seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The key to the superior quality of Farmer's Fresh mushrooms starts with the compost. Our composting is a sophisticated process borne out of years of hands-on experience. We use a combination of chicken manure and straw mixed with just the right amount of water in a carefully controlled environment that pays careful attention to room temperature, humidity, light levels and airflow.
We fill the growing beds with a mixture of soil and prepared compost. The pasteurization takes a few weeks and we use a combination of spawn (sometimes called seed) and casing which is the top dressing that's applied to the compost on which the mushrooms will eventually form.
At the first stage of growth a small white "pea" size heads appear in the compost. Once the mushrooms have reached their optimal size, each one is hand-picked and then cut half way down its stem with a small knife in preparation for grading and shipping.
Slicing, Packaging and Shipping:
Once the mushrooms are harvested, they are shipped to our distribution centre where they are graded for size and quality. All bulk orders are then re-inspected by our warehouse and quality control team and packed per our customer's specifications. To avoid bruising, the only time the mushrooms are touched by our workers is at the picking stage.
After inspection at the warehouse, mushrooms that require slicing are taken to our state-of-the-art slicer and cut into the specified thickness. We then run the product through a metal detector to ensure that no metal fragments from the slicer are attached to the mushrooms. The product is then either packed directly into the master shipping carton or into small packages which are sold to the end consumer by the grocery store. Once the products are packed, they are put through a "blast" chiller to reach an ideal temperature of 34-46 degrees before shipping. Because mushrooms are made up of 95% water, maintaining the proper temperature maximizes shelf life and quality.
To ensure that our mushrooms are completely safe for consumption, every step of our production is meticulously clean and safe. We sterilize our barns after each harvest and all of our workers are equipped with sanitized clothing, hair nets and rubber gloves.
Mushrooms aid in weight management, health and wellness:
Did you know?
The humble mushroom is brimming with vitamins, minerals, essential nutrients, antioxidants and fibre.
A half-cup serving of cooked mushrooms is packed with phosphorous, potassium, copper, selenium, niacin and pantothenic acids. That serving also provides riboflavin and is the only vegetable in the produce section that can boast it has natural Vitamin D.
Best of all that serving comes with only 14 calories and no carbohydrates, sodium, cholesterol or sugar. Eaten fresh, that mushroom will also help with weight loss. Fresh mushrooms are high in water content and fibre and contain no fat.
A fresh mushroom also has cancer-fighting nutrients such as beta-glucans and conjugated linoleic acid-compounds currently under the microscope for their chemo-preventative potential. Recent research suggests that mushrooms (and mushroom extracts) may have powerful anti-tumour activity for both breast and prostate cancer. White button mushrooms help to build strong immune systems.
Recent studies show that fresh mushrooms can help with
- Blood pressure
- Heart health
- Healthy aging
- Childhood obesity