(NEWS4UTAH – Fillmore, Utah) It’s 1974. All in the family is the number 1 show on TV. Utahans are listening to Barbara Streisand’s “The way we were” on their 8 track tapes in their Ford Pintos. And a new, very special farm, has opened in Millard County… a farm that grows…of all things…my favorite fungus…mushrooms.
44 years later, Mountain View Mushrooms, provides the majority of mushrooms sold in Utah. They are also one of Millard County’s largest employers. They let me be a mushroom farmer for a day.
Danny Wardle, General Manager of Mountain View Mushrooms explains the process of growing my favorite fungus… mushrooms. “So, we start with the compost…and then we bring it in and sterilize it… Then we add the spawn, which is the mushroom seed that has that spore that we’ve talked about. we … add this layer of peat moss on top of it. That peat moss is where the mushroom will fruit…”
What’s amazing is how small it all starts. A mushroom is a fungus that grows starting from a spore. Mushroom spores that we start with are about 5 microns in size…. smaller than you can see.
Those tiny spores grow up fast in Filmore! A staggering 110, 000 pounds of various mushrooms including white, cremini and Portobello, are being producing and sold every single week.
Did you know that a Portobello mushroom at this stage will double in size every 24 hours? Wardle took into a special growing room and said; “These will start with these little pins right here. They grow up into a regular size mushroom. If we thin them about a bit like this. And we give enough space for the mushroom to grow and a little bit more time, a few extra days, we’ll grow these large portobellos.”
In the “I didn’t know that department” …You may have heard that mushrooms need to be kept in dark…not true. Wardle told us; “Yeah. so, we are standing in a well-lit room and I don’t think we are causing any problems with the yield of these mushrooms. we have well lit rooms that makes it safe for the pickers and the processors. The only time we turn off the lights is to save energy when we aren’t in the room.”
I must admit, one of my favorite parts of being a mushroom farmer for a day was the harvesting…and, of course, sampling the freshest Portobello around.
With another Utah Success Story, I’m Doug Jessop
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