“With the holidays approaching, demand for organic mushrooms is really peaking. The winter months are proper mushroom months, but towards spring we see demand declining again,” says Christine van Steenkiste of Chamrova. “Noticeable about the organic mushroom market is that chestnut mushrooms are more popular than white mushrooms. This in contrast to the conventional market. We’re not entirely sure why this is the case. The brown colour probably appeals to the organic people more than white.”
Five years ago, Chamrova decided to switch from conventional mushroom production to organic production. “In the production of mushrooms, it’s not very difficult to switch to growing organically. After the final chamber had been harvested, we cleaned everything and started with organic. Getting organic materials is the only thing that’s fairly difficult. It’s expected that getting these materials will only become more difficult, and that it will therefore be difficult for growers to switch to organic,” Christine says.
Focused on customers
Chamrova only works based on contracts. “One customer wants large mushrooms, another wants small ones. That’s why we pick focused on the customers. Retail wants very small mushrooms for the 250-gramme punnets. Sales are done via REO Veiling, which we supply every day. Packing happens at the auction, and from there the mushrooms are sent directly to the customer. With three other mushroom growers we’re members of Tomabel, and they take care of contacts and organisation,” Christine continues.
The grower mentions that demand for mushrooms increases every year. “Looking at about eight years ago, it’s clear more mushrooms are being eaten,” she says. Besides chestnut and white mushrooms, Chamrova also supplies portobellos. “We only grow these when customers ask for them. We’re seeing fairly stable sales in portobellos year-round, but we see a slight peak in sales during the holidays.”
For more information:
Christine Van Steenkiste
8770 - Ingelmunster, Belgium
+32(0) 477 572 879