Behind the Scenes at Mushrooms Canada: Vancouver Wellness Show

Happy Wednesday Mushroom Lovers! I hope that you enjoyed a nice break on Monday. I spent the entire day on a plane on my way home from Vancouver’s Wellness Show… which was great by the way!

I had the opportunity to mingle with some very knowledgeable health exhibitors, as well as take in some delicious cooking demonstrations on the Celebrity Cooking Stage. Everything from risotto to pork tenderloin was prepared using fresh mushrooms, and boy did they look good!

This particular recipe comes from Executive Chef Romy Prasad of Frederico’s Supper Club

Risotto ai Funghi

1 garlic clove
1 chopped shallot
2 oz Shiitake Mushrooms
2 oz Oyster Mushrooms
2 oz Crimini Mushrooms
2 cups superfino Arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
2 oz unsalted butter
2 oz Parmesan cheese
1 tsp parsley

In a large pot – saute mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Add the rice and white wine. Allow to come to simmer. Slowly, ladle by ladle – add the vegetable stock, stirring constantly. Cook until rice is al dente, about 20 minutes. Stir in butter and cheese well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with extra cheese and parsley. Serve hot.

I would like to thank everyone who came out and tried a sample, asked a question, and filled out a ballot for our T-Fal pan draw!

I also want to thank my amazing staff, Coleman.

See you all next year at the 2013 show!

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!!

Behind the Scenes at Mushrooms Canada: The First Tour

This morning I get the opportunity to take the newest member of the Mushrooms Canada team, Shannon, to a mushroom farm!

I remember my first trip to a mushroom farm 6 years ago, I honestly did not know what to expect. I was, however, pleasantly surprised to see that mushrooms were grown indoors (especially since it was February!), and the cleanliness & food safety practices that were in place were astonishing. Hair nets, boots, lab-coats, and no jewelry were the strict rules.

The farm we are going to visit today is owned by Murray Good. You may remember that I featured Murray in this past summer’s Fresh From the Farmer series, where he was in the middle of constructing his new farm. Yes, Murray’s farm actually burned down 2 years ago, and he had been working hard to get it built, certified and up-&-growing again. This is great news for Shannon, because she we be seeing the newest, state-of-the-art farm in Canada.

So, I guess we will see tomorrow exactly what she thinks!

Have you ever been to a mushroom farm?

Behind the Scenes at Mushrooms Canada: London Wine & Food Show 2012

Happy Monday mushroom lovers! I am happy to say that we officially survived another London Food and Wine Show. London ate us out of 175lbs of crimini mushrooms! Yes, 175lbs. That’s a lot of mushrooms!

Like at all shows, we had the opportunity to mingle with some great food exhibitors, including Catering By James Meadows, The Dairy Farmers of Ontario, and Twin Pines Winery – who were all handing out delicious samples. Ted Reader, from Ted’s World Famous BBQ, also graced the Cooking Stage, whipping up a delicious bacon wrapped chicken breast and juicy portabella mushrooms.

Saturday night I had the opportunity to demonstrate an easy Mushroom Pate on the OCO Cooking Stage.

Following that, I challenged the student chef’s from Fanshawe Colleges’ Hospitality program to Make it With Mushrooms. They gathered ingredients from several other exhibitors at the show and whipped up two very different recipes, both featuring mushrooms. Needless to say, I was impressed!

I would like to thank everyone who came out and tried a sample, asked a question, and filled out a ballot for our T-Fal pan draw!

I also want to thank my amazing staff, Shannon and Amanda.

See you all next year at the 2012 show!

Behind the Scenes: We’re Getting a Facelift!

I am happy announce that Mushrooms Canada’s Website, Blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts will be getting a brand new look for 2012!

We will also be updating our current Mushroom Lover’s Club Mailing List, so if you haven’t already signed up, you can do so here.

Change is good, and what better way to welcome change than at the beginning of a new year!

Who’s excited to see our brand new look?