Behind the Scenes at Mushrooms Canada: Shannon’s First Farm Visit
So I have officially visited my first mushroom farm! I have to admit, I think I have been spoiled having Murray’s Whitecrest Farms in Putnam be my first farm- it’s brand new!
It’s certainly not the image that you conger when thinking of a farm – dirty, smelly, loud – no. The walls are white, the floors are still a nice white concrete and all machinery is the made from the shiniest metals, but enough about the aesthetics, how bout the mushrooms?!
There are a total of six growing rooms at Whitecrest Farms that house mushrooms, with 7 tiers of trays measuring 5.1meters high! With the latest technology, Murray’s farm has a unique watering system that lightly mists the mushrooms from beneath the tray above and evenly coats them.
This not only cleanses the mushrooms, but also keeps them clean! Virtually every mushroom was spotless and that’s while they were still sitting in the substrate!! (I was so tempted to pull out my own for a mid afternoon snack.)
Seeing the different stages of mushroom growth was unreal! Whitecrest Farms grows brown mushroom varieties; Cremini, Portabella and Portabelini. Within 24 hours, a visible fruit property sprouts from the substrate and will then DOUBLE in size every 24 hours. Crimini are the first to be harvested and Portabella’s are left to be harvested last so they can achieve their great size. Oddly enough, nearly every light was on in the growing rooms, it’s an urban myth that mushrooms need darkness to grow- how about that?!
Once harvested, the mushrooms are put into boxes and sent across the farm on a conveyor system to be cooled on the high-tech eco-cooling spiral system. This brings the core temperature of the mushroom down to 1°C in a mere 45 minutes! This prolongs the life of the mushroom and makes sure it provides you the best taste possible!
Of course I cant leave out the exciting part where both Murray and Brittany were television STARS for the Foodland Ontario crew. They were awesome and provided some really great information, especially when Brittany reminded the camera (and admittedly me) that one Portabella mushroom have more potassium than a banana! WOW!
Of course, cleanliness is key at a mushroom farm, and since I got to embarrass Brittany, I will end this little field trip to Whitecrest Farms with a photo of myself in my spiffy hair net 🙂
Thanks again to Murray for making my first visit to a mushroom farm a memorable and educational one – what a blast!!