Frequently Asked Questions

  • What types of mushrooms do Meadow Mushrooms grow ?

    White Buttons

    Also known as white mushrooms, agaricus button mushrooms are the most common type you’ll find in the supermarket. They’re harvested when they’re young and have a very subtle, earthy flavor and are available year-round. Learn more>

    Swiss Brown Buttons

    Swiss Browns come from the same family as White Buttons. They’re firm, robust and have slightly less moisture content, with a dense, meaty texture and stronger flavour. They hold their shape better when cooked, and add a beautiful rustic colour to meals. Learn more>


    If you like button mushrooms, then making your way to Portobellos should be an easy step. This mushroom is the most mature stage of the Swiss Brown mushroom, with its cap fully grown out. The Portobello is rich in flavor, but has a meaty texture. It works great as a substitute for meat in dishes, and is particularly delectable when grilled. Learn more>


    With a firm and fleshy texture shiitake is the third most popular edible mushroom in the world and boasts a smoky, woody flavour, with an unmistakable umami taste – meaning a small amount goes a long way to enhancing all your favourite dishes. Learn more>


  • Besides humans what other animals eat mushrooms?

    A wide range of animals are known to eat wild mushrooms (e.g. deer, mice, pigs, rabbits, slugs, snails and many insects including ants which cultivate their own fungus gardens). Do not assume that it is safe for humans to eat the same species that animals consume without any apparent ill effects. It is claimed that deer and rabbits can eat poisonous fungi with impunity.

  • What should I look for when buying mushrooms ?

    Meadow Mushrooms works hard to ensure that only the best possible product arrives fresh to you daily. But when you are buying look for mushrooms that are firm to touch with a fairly uniform colour. Mushrooms are extremely fragile and prone to bruising, so you may find some marks and blemishes. Stems are a good indication of freshness – look for strong, healthy stems when shopping for Meadow Mushrooms.

  • How do I store mushrooms ?

    Mushrooms will keep best when refrigerated.

    Our Meadow Mushrooms punnets and bags are especially designed for mushroom storage.   Keeping your mushrooms in their custom breathable film and biodegradable punnets helps keep your products from becoming damaged and help maintain freshness.  Because mushrooms are a fungi comprised largely of water, they are likely to degrade quickly if they are not stored properly. Our custom breathable film bag will allow for the perfect balance between letting moisture out and not too much air in. Our especially designed biodegradable punnets can help protect them as they perspire ensuring your mushrooms are fresh straight from the farm where they are handpicked 364 days a year - that’s a lot of care and attention!

    If you have a brown paper bag or fabric mushroom bag these are both breathable to help maintain product freshness by allowing the mushrooms to breath and preventing moisture build-up which can age your product.

  • How do I prepare mushrooms for eating ?

    To prepare mushrooms for eating and cooking simply wipe them clean with a dry cloth, or brush off any compost which is attached to them. Avoid washing, rinsing or soaking mushrooms as they have a high water content already and being porus will absorb more water which will come out during cooking.


    We fon't recommend peeling your mushrooms before eating, because the skin is packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

  • How do I tell if my mushrooms are still good to eat ?

    They’re Slimy!

    The rule-of-thumb when it comes to detecting freshness is when mushrooms are slimy. This could be from sitting in your fridge for too long and while they’re not bad for you to eat at this point, it's still a good common kitchen practice to toss them.

    They have wrinkles.

    Sometimes mushrooms don't get slimy but they do dry out and get wrinkles. While it's okay to dry out your mushrooms a little bit (since they are fairly moist vegetables anyway), you don't want them too wrinkly. So if they're shriveled up looking, it's a safer bet to toss rather than consume.

    They're darker or have dark spots.

    Dark spots are a sign that they're starting to go bad. The best thing that you can do is to keep an eye on your mushrooms throughout the time they're in your fridge. If you see them getting darker or developing dark spots, it's time to use them or lose them.

    They've been around for eight days or more.

    The general consensus in terms of shelf life/storage time with mushrooms is eight days in the fridge. Of course, use your best judgment and common sense. If they look, smell, and feel fine, they're probably still safe to eat.

    They emit an odor.

    Your mushrooms shouldn't have a noticeable or strong odor. If you can smell them, they've gone bad. Of course, if you're sticking your nose right up to them, you'll get a scent, but it should be light and subtle. If you pick up the bag, open it, and have to turn your head, then you've got bad mushrooms.

  • Are mushrooms vegetables ?

    A mushroom is neither a fruit nor a vegetable; technically mushrooms aren't even plants. They are a special type of fungus, which is a great addition to a healthy diet—not to mention totally delicious.

  • Can I be allergic to mushrooms ?

    Mushrooms are not considered a common food allergy. However if you're allergic to mold you might experience similar symptoms when eating mushrooms.

  • Can I put old or decomposing mushrooms into my compost heap ?

    You can put all the mushrooms you want in a compost heap, they may even be the shining star of the mix. Given their special attributes, mushrooms add several benefits to a healthy compost pile. Add mushrooms to the pile and all of their mineral goodies become part of the completed compost. The compost then feeds your plants and garden all these essential minerals.

  • Are your plastic bags and film recyclable?

    Yes, the plastic bags our mushrooms come in can be recycled through the soft-plastics recycling programme, where available. The cling-film that wraps our pre-packed mushroom punnets can also be removed and recycled in the same soft-plastics recycling programme. We are constantly trialing new biodegradable and home compostable films that will work well with fungi and ensure your mushrooms are stored better and longer.

    By packaging a portion of our product in punnets it goes towards helping reduce food waste rates. At a farm level we do our best to ensure our loose mushrooms are free from damage; but once they are on supermarket shelves, they are more susceptible to bruising, sweating or can often dry out, become wrinkled or become slimy if they are sprayed with water. This means they are more likely to be rejected and go to wastage. By packaging a portion of our product in punnets it protects them whilst travelling, in store and once shoppers bring them home. 



    You find out more information about our soft plastics recycling programme here:

  • How do we grow our mushrooms?

    Agaricus (white buttons, brown buttons, portabello)

    Meadow Mushrooms are a fully integrated mushroom farm with a spawn lab, compost yard, farm and pack house all in Canterbury which has been operating for nearly 50 years. Our spawn lab processes spawn before sending it to our compost yard (which is the substrate), where it is mixed together before being applied to the farm for growing. Our compost is produced using Canterbury straw and at the end of the growing process the spent/used compost is sent back to Canterbury farms to feed back to the land in a circular growing process. Before the next years crops are grown.

    You can find more information on the Our Mushrooms page here>


    Premium Shiitake

    China has been cultivating mushrooms since around 600 A.D. and we selected some of their finest shiitake to grow on our farm, using mycelium which is combined into a sawdust mix for transport. We mature the mycelium, in our Canterbury growing rooms, to strict New Zealand food safety standards then nurture with water, temperature and humidity. Soon the magic begins and tiny mushrooms start to appear. We continue to grow the shiitake until they mature, then we hand-pick and pack on our farm, fresh for delivery. We tested various shiitake from around the world to find those which are superior in quality and flavour and these are the mushrooms we currently produce. 


    Food safety is crucial at Meadow Mushrooms and we are proud of our excellent track record which spans back to our almost 50 years. Shiitake are a fungi, and to reproduce they create spores, which germinate to form mycelium. Similar to the seeds or cuttings used for most produce in New Zealand we purchase this mycelium from overseas. All imported mycelium media are regularly tested including for pesticides and heavy metals. Our Mushrooms are also tested, including microbial pathogens, heavy metals, pesticides and more. Our approved supplier exports to various countries and is audited using an independent party. Their processes and systems are of a very high standard ensuring they are able to satisfy New Zealand’s strict requirements for importation as well as Food Safety Compliance.

  • What are the small moon shaped indentations in my mushrooms?

    But we can confirm that all our harvesters and packers are closely monitored, and all wear food safety gloves. The marks are in fact indentations from the stalks where they have pressed onto the caps not from our staff. We try to keep these marks to a minimum but sometimes through transit - and as they are odd shapes and poke out of punnets - the indentations can occur.

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