Ed Wuensch, a third-generation mushroom grower at Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farms Inc., Gonzales, Texas, has completed his studies at Texas A&M University and is working at the family-owned firm in sales and other areas to get an overview of the business, said Bill St. John, sales and transportation manager.
Wuensch is a grandson of Darrell McLain and a nephew of Greg McLain. The McLains own the company.
The company also has a new chiller.
“Cooling is very important in Texas,” St. John said.
The firm replaced a couple of smaller units with one with greater capacity, which should reduce long-term energy costs.
The company also has a conveyor system that runs throughout the farm, from the growing room to the facility where mushrooms are vacuum-cooled, he said. The system helps ensure shelf life.
Kitchen Pride produces white button, brown, portabella, oyster and shiitake mushrooms.
Consumers respond to Monterey innovation
Watsonville, Calif.-based Monterey Mushrooms has had great consumer response to two innovations introduced in the past few years, vice president Joe Caldwell said.
“Both our vitamin D product as well as our informative sustainable packaging has reinforced the natural goodness of our product for consumer health as well as our planet health,” he said.
As much as 25% of Monterey Mushrooms’ volume is now prewashed and sliced, he said, with the majority of that with 100% daily value of vitamin D per serving.
“We are seeing more interest in prestuffed mushrooms as more consumers are making quick-serve appetizers and even vegetarian meals from them,” he said. “Monterey expects to expand our offering of these products over the next year.”
Blendability a winner for Mushroom Council
For the second year in a row, the Mushroom Council, San Jose, Calif., earned first place in the Reverse Action Station Chef Demo Lunch Buffet at the Produce Marketing Association’s Foodservice Conference in Monterey, Calif., in late July, said Kathleen Preis, marketing coordinator for the council.
The council received the honor, which was voted on by attendees, for its mushroom-and-beef and mushroom-and-turkey blended sliders. Entries were judged on use of produce as a center-of-the-plate item, lowering overall plate cost and overall appearance.
Preis said the honor reflects the industry’s recognition of the blendability concept as a practical solution to many current foodservice concerns.