Raw Natural Compost
Compost is the ‘substrate’ medium in which our mushrooms will grow, it consists of 3 basic raw materials - wheat straw, chicken manure & gypsum. It is from the compost that the mushrooms will get their essential nutrients. Initial preparation & mixing of the compost takes about 2 weeks before it is pasteurised.
Once the compost has completed the pasteurisation process it is then inoculated with the mushroom spawn. The spawn is grain coated with mycelium which then colonises the compost. Spawn is to mushrooms what seeds are to green plants. As mycelium grows it generates heat and needs to be carefully managed.
The fully colonised compost now has a 5cm thick layer of peat (mushroom casing) layered over it. This peat performs 2 critical functions; it has a buffering affect, ensuring that the compost doesn’t dry out during cropping & the enzymes that naturally occur in the peat help encourage the mycelium to fruit. We pick our first mushrooms on day 16 after the compost has been put into the growing room.
Harvesting = Hand Picked!
CompWhen the mushrooms reach the desired size we handpick them directly into the box, punnet or tray. Meadows grow 3 different types of mushrooms (official name Agaricus Bisporus) – white buttons, swiss brown buttons & portabello mushrooms. Mushrooms double in size every 24 hours so we must pick quickly before they get too big. Over 9 million mushrooms are individually hand-picked on our farm every week.
Once all the mushrooms have been picked, the growing room needs to be emptied before we refill & start the process all over again. A typical large growing room can contain as much as 150 tonnes of compost & peat. These materials are emptied out of their trays or shelves into trucks & used by farmers & gardeners to help grow a variety of crops. The spent mushroom compost is a fertiliser full of nutrients and good organic matter.
On The Table
Meadows is the only New Zealand grower with full vertical integration. We work hard to ensure that only the best possible product arrives fresh to our customers daily.