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“Yield for browns – is near 36, and more than 40 kg/m2 for whites”, – tells Geoff. UMDIS visited Giorgi Mushrooms in America

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During Mushroom Short Course in Pennsylvania, we met Geoff Price. He is the Technical Director in Giorgi Mushrooms. Previously we knew that this is one of the largest American mushroom farm (or to be accurate – group of farms).

Facilities we`ve visited are in Blandon, Pennsylvania.

-We bought all small farms around us because we were more effective than they. So, no other mushroom farms nearby left, – laughs Geoff Price.Giorgi Mushrooms is the first largest mushroom seller in America – and the second largest group of farms in the country. Totally 72.5К tones of mushrooms a year is produced by Giorgi: button mushrooms, Portabellas, Criminis, and Shiitake. Criminis and Portabellos are very much popular among American consumers.

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In total in Giorgi Mushrooms there are 467.5 growing rooms with average square 740 m2. They are spread over 6 farms in Berks Country, Pennsylvania. Growing area is 347K m2. Three of 6 farms have organic certification – so mushrooms are produced there without chemicals.

For European visitor rooms are very much old-fashioned. And Americans agree with this.

-Before you enter our growing rooms or any other in America – you should turn your clock 30 years back. And that is true for most of growing rooms in America, – laughs Geoff. – Some rooms here have up to 100 years history. Company is family owned. The name Giorgio goes back to 1928 year when Pietro Giorgi built the first mushroom houses in Temple, Pennsylvania. Now the company is ruled by the third generation. Many things have changed – but you still can see traditional wooden beds and wooden boards dividing lower and upper parts of room to make it possible to grow and pick mushrooms on the upper shelves.

On the farm large attention is put to cleaning. GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) and MGAP (Mushroom Good Agriculrural Practicies) certificates are implemented here.

Yield for brown mushrooms here is near 36 kg per m2 – at the same time it could be more than 40 kg per m2 for white button mushrooms. But Geoff note, that in America more compost is being put on m2 – 120 kg of Phase 2 compost growers put per m2 in Georgi Mushrooms (while 85-90 kg of Phase 3 compost is normal per m2 for Europe). So, when we count the yield in percentages – the yield in America seems to be less than in Europe.

The requirements for mushroom`s appearance, shape and cleanliness in America are much lower than in Europe. In the meantime – that does not mean that a package of mushrooms we see in the fridge of a mushroom farm is bad.

That is a great contrast of enough old rooms and extremely modern packing house.

Geoff Price, the Technical Director in Giorgi tells:

-We are really concerned about labor – so when we can replace people with machines and that is not extremely expensive – we do this. As the example you can see our packing house with modern packing lines.

We see the large hall with long-long lines and people working on them (that is not allowed to make photos there). The line weights automatically sliced mushrooms, mushrooms in trays, packs mushroom, puts labels on them.

Automatics in packing house is sophisticated. For example, there is a system of automatic filling sliced mushrooms to the boxes that should have the same weight. Machine throws mushrooms – they fall in number of metal “glasses” – than the system decides on which “glasses” should be combined to receive the nearest weight to the given one. Then the system opens the bottom of those specified glasses – and specified weight of mushrooms fall down to the box.

Another thing makes us be amazed – is many meters long stand with labels.

-Yes, we have 350 labels – for different products, different supermarkets etc., – tells us Geoff.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).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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