At Vedemij, growing white cup mushrooms starts with the in-house production of the substrate we use.
A mushroom is the fruit of the fungal threads or mycelium of a fungus. The fluffy mycelium contracts, forming pins or pinheads which will eventually grow into mushrooms. The mycelium is placed on growth substrate. The substrate is prepared as follow.
At Vedemij, the process begins with the preparation of the substrate. The substrate is prepared using a mixture consisting of horse manure, chicken manure, straw, gypsum, and water. The substrate is fermented, pasteurised, and conditioned. After these steps, the mushroom spawn can be placed on the growth substrate. Mushroom spawn or actively growing mushroom culture is a mixture of grains and mycelium.
As soon as the mushroom mycelium has colonised the soil, the substrate is removed from the tunnel and transported to the adjacent mushroom growing facility which is filled using a loader and a filling machine. This is also known as the filling of colonised compost. The substrate takes approximately 4 weeks to prepare.
During filling, the prepared compost is covered with a layer of casing soil in the cultivation room of the mushroom growing facility. This casing soil is necessary to ensure that the mushroom mycelium forms pinheads. Once the mycelium has grown to the surface, the grower cools down the cultivation room. These autumnal conditions make the mycelium contract, forming pins or pinheads, which grow into mushrooms. The entire process from the filling of the cultivation room to the mushroom harvest takes approximately 3 weeks. The mushrooms are harvested in two flushes, in one and the same week.
The entire process takes approximately 4 weeks, or 8 weeks from start to end if you include the preparation of the compost. We are able to achieve this in such a short time because we use the latest techniques and constantly look at ways to better control the process.
Mushrooms are harvested mechanically with a cutting machine. They are then sorted by size and their stem trimmed. At the customer’s request, we can also wash, evacuate and/ or slice our mushrooms. Our employees sort the mushrooms, ensuring they are correctly sized and end up with the right customer.
After the first flush, it’s time for grubbing. All remaining stems are mechanically removed from the mushroom beds, giving new mushrooms the space they need to grow for the second flush.
After the second flush, we empty the cells. The residual product is known as champost, a popular product with arable farmers who use it to aerate the soil and improve crop yields.