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UMDIS visited Mushroom Short Course of America. Photos

UMDIS PARTNERS

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On 25-27th of September UMDIS Mushroom Information Agency was the guest speaker from Europe during 63rd Mushroom Short Course. Nearly 200 people from the industry gathered there. The event took place in a beautiful venue hotel Mendenhall Inn in Kennet Square. This village is known for every mushroom grower – it is situated in Pennsylvania, 2.5 hours drive from New York – and near 60% of American mushrooms are grown here.The number of farms is estimated as 50 or so. So that is a perfect place for this event.

In 2022 that was the 63rd Mushroom Short Course taking place. That is the event with a very long history, which helps growers to get know about new developments in mushroom growing and to meet colleges. In America science is a very much practical – it helps growers to increase yields, speed of harvesting, overcome flies on the farms, etc. But the speakers are not just scientists – also representatives of largest farms, international guests, official bodies` representatives are present and make their speeches, take part in panels and discussions.

America has got two events for professional mushroom growers: Mushroom Short Course by PennState University taking place every year and North American Mushroom Conference taking place every two years. The organizing committee of Mushroom Short Course consists of David Beyer, John Pecchia and Mary Seaton from Penn State University and other experienced people who help them. They deal with mushrooms and organization for tens of years.Mushroom Short Course is the Conference accompanied by a small exhibition. That looks like a large whole in the end of which is food, on the sides – booths of Sponsors and Exhibitors, in the beginning of the whole – the scene where presentations are being made, and in the middle of it – round tables for all participants.Here are gathering two groups of people – scientists from PennState University – College of Agricultural Science, and teams of American and some Canadian mushroom farms. Here are we see representatives of the largest players: Monterey Mushrooms, Georgi Mushrooms, South Mill Mushrooms, Monaghan Mushrooms and other farms. While speaking about suppliers – some of them are also present: Champfood, GTL-Europe, Hoving Holland, Agro-Projects, Grow Time, and others. The event is a perfect opportunity to meet the decision-making people from the farms.The first presentation was about East and Central European market and how it has changed during the war in Ukraine. Americans are very supportive to Ukrainians and would like to know more about their Ukrainian colleges who also grow mushrooms like them. Also, there was the presentation-report from American Mushroom Institute and Mushroom Council.Other presentations were enough practical and touched those problems that growers have on those facilities. That was about harvesting, its efficiency and speed, about casing soil, fly control, nematodes, diseases, viruses and even mobile app for the grower. What is surprising – representatives of the companies – competitors are luckily gather on the stage together to teach other growers and transmit them their secrets – in teaching of harvesting for example. That is the same with the spawn suppliers – here rivals sit round the big table. “We compete with each other – but we cannot survive without our competitors”, – tells us Chris Alonzo, President of Pietro mushroom farm.

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One of the very painful problems are flies, so that was a perfect presentation devoted to fly control, made by Mike Wolfin, the young but very ambitious Penn State researcher. “The best fly – is the dead fly,” – he told us.  We have visited some farms after the course and have seen the situation. To be fair – mushroom growers in Europe would be frustrated with so many flies and would not know what to do – but American growers are got used to them. While we were on one of the farms where the lamp that kills the flies by electricity is used – nearly all two seconds we heard the electric heat.Also, such topics were discussed: peat moss alternatives, app development for mushroom growing, mushroom virus and mushroom diseases.

In the evening of the first day was the banquet in the hotel restaurant. One may notice that many dishes during lunches and Gala Dinner were with mushrooms – mushroom soup, blended mushroom burgers, mushrooms in batter.UMDIS Mushroom Information Agency is very much grateful to the organizers of Mushroom Short Course – David, John, Mary and Amy – for giving us the possibility to come and tell the growers on American continent about situation in Ukraine.

UMDIS Mushroom Information Agency provides consultations on mushroom business, technology, selling of mushrooms in Europe, organizes study tours. Contact us for more information: iaumdis@gmail.com, +380935690941 (WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram).

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