Last week, the media reported that there was a mushroom shortage on the Belgian market. According to mushroom farmer, Michel Lesage of Lesage Champignons, there was somewhat of a shortfall after the summer holidays. However, this problem has since been solved.
"Several journalists were looking for news over that slow news period. It turned out that some growers were not at full production after 15 August. Production, in general, was somewhat lower because of the quality of the raw materials. Demand was also suddenly picking up. This, unfortunately, made the news six weeks too late", says Michel.
“It was very busy after 15 August. Demand was high and the season got off to an excellent start. It is now all hands on deck. It was very busy last week because holidaymakers returned home," continues Michel. This good start to the season is thanks, in part, to the recent autumn weather.
The sale of chestnut mushrooms benefits a lot from the weather. "Chesnut mushrooms are sensitive to the seasons. They are mainly eaten in autumn and winter. The demand for these mushrooms has, therefore, just about doubled compared to last month."
Traditionally, the demand for mushrooms in 30% lower in the summer months than during the rest of the year. "Production is curtailed then, and during employees holiday period. This summer, the pressure was comparable to other years", explains the producer.
Current production levels are as they should be and the quality is good. "Autumn is a difficult time for growing mushrooms. This is due to the climactic conditions - warm days and cold nights. Cultivation is, however, going well and the weather is favorable. We cannot complain."
Lesage Champignons has recently expanded their production by 30%. “We have added another cultivation company's production to ours. Now, we have a good 250 tons of mushrooms per month. This expansion was necessary in order to meet the demand of our growing clientele. We must also be ready for the future."
"We have noticed that, in Belgium, the number of mushrooms farmers is not increasing. When we look toward the future, we can see that there will not be many growers remaining in a couple of years time. With this expansion, we can focus on growth, but also on the efficient, optimal servicing of our clients", concludes Michel.
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