Short growing phases cut down on contaminants
Organic mushroom popularity increasing monthly
Sales in the organic mushroom category are up every single month for Highline Mushrooms. CEO, Aaron Hamer says a big focus for the company continues to be innovation – through the ongoing rollout and expansion of their top seal program (an easier to open mushroom packaging). “We think the industry is trending towards the consumer requiring and demanding either organic or pesticide-free,” he states. “We’re the leading provider in both of those categories.” Highline Mushrooms is the largest organic mushroom grower in the world.
Offering organice & peciticide-free produce
Highline’s technology and proprietary processes developed over 30 years allows them to grow organic and pesticide-free mushrooms. As a result, Hamer says that Highline is one of very few mushroom companies, in North America putting “Grown without Pesticides” on their labels. “Mushrooms are like a sponge – they soak up everything, which is why they’re a great culinary ingredient,” says Hamer. “They absorb the flavor of what you’re cooking with but that also means they absorb any foreign chemicals or pesticides that a farm would spray onto their crop.”
Fast growing cycle
Most of the expertise for pesticide-free produce has been developed in house over the last 30 years. Hamer says the biggest components of offering pesticide free are the technology the farm uses as well as their investment in innovative growing techniques. “Our farms grow in different phases so the mushrooms end up in a growing room for as few as four weeks. Therefore, it’s a fast cycle which reduces the ability for there to be disease or any type of poor growing conditions that would require the use of pesticides and fungicides, whereas many other farms would use 13-week growing cycles.”
Consumer education for mushroom health benefits
Considering their health benefits, offering organics and produce free of chemicals seems apparent. “Research shows mushrooms provide certain antioxidants and anti-aging properties that can’t be found naturally in other food source,” he says. “The industry has not yet fully convinced the consumer of the amazing health benefits that mushrooms offer. This is something we’re focusing on because they would be amazed when they learn more about how mushrooms can help them in their battle against aging and promoting brain health.”
Blending trend popular with chefs
New trends in mushroom consumption are coming through ‘Blending’. “A big movement we’re excited about is blending – mushrooms with beef,” he explains. “Consumers are starting to see chefs experimenting with ‘the Blend,’ and so we expect this trend to impact the category on the shelf at retail. We are educating the shopper to think about mixing/blending ground meat with up to 40 per cent ground mushrooms to enhance the flavor and reduce the fat/caloric content of their burgers, meat loaf, tacos or other ground meat dish.”
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Publication date: 9/29/2017
Author: Rebecca D Dumais
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