Bi ShuTong is the European Business Developer at QiHe Biotechnology. The company is an expert in the production of substate logs for shiitake, king oyster and oyster, and other exotic mushrooms.
The company recently opened its own business in Spain, called the Exotic Mushroom Center. It also operates a production center in Poland, where it produces Shiitake and King Oyster mushrooms.
Shandong QiHe Biotech has introduced the world's advanced edible fungus CNC system and established a complete production system from strains to deep processed products. (Photo above; production facility in Shandong, China.)
"We manufacture in our own factories and import frozen shiitake and King Oyster substrates from China," says ShuTong: "Our facility in Poland officially launched in May 2020, and the one in Spain is currently under construction. Back in 2005, we created factories in South Korea as well. Then, in 2014, we opened a plant in the USA, and in 2015, we opened one in Japan. Currently, we have four farms in the USA, three in Japan, and one subsidiary in South Korea. In all these markets we sell fresh mushrooms. In addition to the fresh mushrooms, we also offer the substrate to the market."
in the photo is the automatic line to produce logs, designed by QiHe Biotechnology. The company produces 150 to 200 million shiitake logs per year.
The logs, after production, are frozen until they are installed in the place where the shiitake will be grown.
In Poland, the company supplies substrate to nearby farms. In the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, and Austria QiHe Biotech supplies the finished product. Large distributors in Poland handle the majority of the sales. In China, QiHe's production facilities can produce 150 to 200 million shiitake logs per year.
ShuTong comments: "Europe's market is expanding quickly. The Netherlands had few producers with reliable production in the past. The majority of these buyers of substrate from China were small growers. Their output was inconsistent, just as the substrate's quality was inconsistent. Now we cooperate with growers, and production has becoming more stable. Stable supply of shiitake has increased, and with this, demand for mushrooms is also growing."
"We grow shiitake and king oyster mushrooms in Europe. In the USA, we also grow oyster mushrooms, and we are developing a new production site for the production of enoki mushrooms. Demand in the USA has grown steadily when supply improved. Throughout Europe, there is a rising demand for exotic mushrooms. We have access to fresh supplies because we produce locally. As part of our business strategy, we procure substrate in China and send it to our farms abroad. We know it will take some time for this market to develop and for the orders to stabilize. Nonetheless, we continue to invest because we have faith in this market," says ShuTong confidently.
Automated production and packing line for shiitake logs
In fact, the start of sales and marketing of fresh shiitake was quite challenging in the United States as well. But here, demand has recently increased significantly and is now stable and strong.
Shiitake mushrooms are relatively straightforward to grow but often require a confined space with a controlled atmosphere environment. Growers remove the substrate from the container, mist it with water, and watch the shiitake mushrooms develop after 3 to 5 days. After 7 days, the crop can be harvested. Typically, shiitake has two flushes per log, weighing 700 to 800 grams each. King Oyster is a single flush that grows 400–500 g of mushroom in 20 days.
ShuTong concludes: "King oyster is a fantastic meat substitute; it can be cut into slices and cooked in a pan. With our local production and distribution sites, we are flexible and fast to supply the market. We are confident demand from Europe will grow in the coming years. And we are ready to supply."
For more information:
Shandong QiHe Biotechnology Co., Ltd.