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Mushroom production in Ireland: insights from UMDIS` conversations with industry experts (art 3 from 5)

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Эта статья на русском языке – здесь

Ireland’s mushroom industry has experienced significant growth over the years, with numerous farms thriving in the country. In a recent visit to three farms accompanied by Leonne McKenna from JF McKenna Ltd, a company that supplies, Growing Rooms design and building services to local mushroom farms, UMDIS Mushroom Information Agency gained valuable insights into the mushroom business in Ireland.This article provides a summary of the conversations held with farm owners, employees, and industry experts, shedding light on the dynamics of the mushroom industry and the challenges and opportunities it presents.

Below there are number of our insights regarding mushroom in Ireland

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  1. Production

Ireland is the 4th largest European mushroom producers. It produces nearly 50 000 tons of fresh mushrooms a year. Nearly 1/5 of button mushrooms produced in Ireland are brown button mushrooms.

  1. Tunnel rooms

Most of the farms in Ireland are with tunnel growing rooms – it is traditionally Irish style of a mushroom farm (you can see photos below). However traditional Dutch panel farms are also present in Ireland, and moreover – the combination of those two systems. Tunnel farm when every room is a separate tunnel is cheaper to build. The advantage of tunnel rooms lies in their better airflow and flexibility for future expansion.

In the past, farmers relied on tunnels with bags on the ground, but as farms expanded, they turned to shelving system and needed a better management and better quality-control. In tunnel rooms without the mutual corridor the management is a bit more difficult as there is no opportunity to go from one room to another directly.

So, we have seen a good solution – combination of tunnel and panel structure – when the rooms are tunnel rooms, but they are combined with a panel corridor.

  1. Globalisation of the market

The Evolution of the Mushroom Industry in Ireland: Historically, Ireland had thousands of mushroom farms, but over time, many smaller farms went out of the market due to the usual in our industry globalisation process. As mushroom farming became more business-oriented, family-owned farms faced challenges in scaling up and meeting the demands of the market. However, there are still around 40 mushroom farms in Ireland, including some large-scale operations such as Monaghan Mushrooms and Walsh Mushrooms.

  1. The McKenna Family

McKenna family have played a significant role in the mushroom industry in Ireland. Their company, JF McKenna Ltd, initially started as a mushroom farm and later expanded into packaging, compost supply, and equipment manufacturing. The company now focuses on providing turnkey solutions for mushroom farms, including designing and building growing rooms and supplying necessary equipment. The family’s commitment and expertise have earned them recognition as one of the top suppliers in the industry. As Leonne McKenna told, the company’s goal always was to ensure that their clients achieved the best possible results and felt confident in their partnership.

  1. Peat

The problem with peat is very up to date in Ireland. The government, publicity, as well as supermarket chains push mushroom producers to stop to use it. And now we see casing with reduced part of peat on number of farms. There are trials, there are recipes with paper as the ingredient. However, we have not seen the farm which work without peat in Ireland.

  1. Exotic mushrooms sector

The growing demand for exotic mushrooms should be admitted in Ireland. While button mushrooms remain the staple in Ireland, there is a growing demand for exotic mushrooms, both for culinary and medicinal purposes.

  1. Consumption

Mushrooms hold a prominent place in Irish cuisine, often surpassing the popularity of vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers. Farm owners and employees noted that mushrooms are a staple in traditional Irish dishes, and their consumption extends beyond a single meal. When discussing marketing efforts, it became apparent that supermarkets play a significant role in promoting local mushrooms to consumers. Various packaging and labelling initiatives have been implemented, highlighting the local origin of mushrooms and encouraging support for Irish producers. This focus on local support resonates with the growing trend of consumers valuing products with a strong sense of origin.

Conclusion

The mushroom business in Ireland is thriving, driven by local demand and export, and the commitment of dedicated producers and industry experts. Despite challenges, such as market competition with imported mushrooms and global events as Brexit, pandemic or war, Irish farms continue to uphold high standards of quality and sustainability. The close relationship between farmers and supermarkets has helped promote local produce and foster a sense of community support.

The conversations with farm owners and industry experts revealed not only the intricacies of the mushroom business but also the broader cultural and social dynamics that shape the industry in Ireland. The mushroom business in this country is a dynamic and evolving industry, driven by innovation, quality, and customer relationships. Companies like JF McKenna Ltd play a crucial role in supporting mushroom farmers with their expertise, equipment, and services. With a focus on quality, customer satisfaction, and continuous improvement, the mushroom business in Ireland is poised for a promising future.

Ask UMDIS about CONSULTING and PROMOTION on mushroom market by mail inna.ustilovskaja@gmail.com.[ad id=”38165″]

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