Seven different varieties of specialty mushrooms are grown in Mushrooms Naturally’s indoor warehouse. Between 250-300lbs a week being shipped out to fine dining restaurants in St. Louis, MO. Varieties include: oyster (yellow and grey), shiitake, king oyster, hen of the woods (Maitake), beech (two varieties), black poplar, and lion’s mane. “The products we grow are the higher priced more gourmet varieties of mushrooms,” said Founder and Chef, John Gelineau. “They’re the feature items of some of the dishes.”
Maitake variety is popular
All mushroom varieties are primarily grown on hardwood sawdust that is mixed, processed and steamed to sterilize and kill microbes. “Then we rotate product into our grow rooms every week. We harvest just about every day. Our goal is for consistent weekly production to feed the restaurants on a weekly basis. It’s a constant flow of material.” His two most popular are the maitake and a tie between king oyster and shiitake.
The biggest challenges for Gelineau's facility are the environmental controls. “Even though we’re indoors in a warehouse, the environment in St. Louis itself can go from -10 degrees in the winter to 110 degrees in the summer,” he said. “All of that affects how much we have to control the environment in the rooms.” Humidity and fresh airflow have to be at proper levels. The facility is also stringent about its sterility for the growing substrates. Everything has to be properly sterilized and processed in the lab. “Once you have one issue it can perpetuate itself and ruin a week’s worth of materials putting you thousands of dollars out.”
Gelineau says their next venture will be looking into getting into the hydroponic production of watercress.