Hippocrates first mentioned mushrooms when he wrote about their medicinal value in 400 B.C. The first record of year-round commercial production was in l780 when a French gardener began to cultivate mushrooms in the underground quarries near Paris. 

Mushrooms complement almost any everyday meal. They are easy to sauté and add savory flavor, texture, appetite appeal and nutrients to just about anything. From appetizers and salads to main dishes and sides, mushrooms can be enjoyed in so many ways. 

The mushroom is a fungus and is quite finicky about its food source. Mushrooms lack the ability to use energy from the sun. They are not green plants because they do not have chlorophyll. Mushrooms extract their carbohydrates and proteins from a rich medium of decaying, organic matter vegetation. 

The mushroom industry is the ultimate recycler. Mushroom substrate is made from straw; stable bedding; poultry litter; and other organic materials. These by-products of other primary industries are used to produce a selective nutrient-rich medium for production of a high quality foodstuff. 

After these materials are mixed, the substrate is then fermented and pasteurised. Spore (the seed of the mushroom) is used to produce grain spawn under sterile conditions. The mushroom spawn is then added to the substrate. Mushrooms are grown in sophisticated rooms in which the environment is precision controlled to provide ideal growing conditions. Constant checks ensure that temperature, air composition and humidity are kept at the right levels while the spawn grows through the substrate. 

A surface of casing soil is then added to the substrate to provide a good bed on which the mushrooms will multiply. At every stage of the process, the environment is carefully monitored and hygiene strictly controlled. The growing process is unusual because mushrooms do not have leaves or a root system like other crops; nor do they need sunshine or chlorophyll. 

Growers have made big investments in climate-controlled growing environments specifically designed for mushrooms to ensure that quality fresh mushrooms are available for consumers every day of the year. The first mushrooms will appear in about twelve days and be ready for harvest in about three weeks. Harvesting is done by hand by teams of trained pickers. 

Each shelf of substrate produces three commercially harvestable crops (called ‘flushes’) over a period of about six weeks. Once the crop has been harvested, substrate provides an organic and nutritionally balanced product ideal for addition to high quality potting mixes or use as a garden mulch. Or used in the paddy fields. Thus, nothing is wasted.