Kevin Donovan, national sales manager for Phillips Mushroom Farms in Kennett Square, PA, told The Produce News that the company would once again participate in The National Mushroom Council’s “Go Pink” promotion.
“The effort benefits the City of Hope, a leading cancer research treatment and education center, to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” said Mr. Donovan. “In October, Phillips Mushroom Farms will pack eight-ounce mushrooms in pink trays with special pink labels. The Mushroom Council makes a sizeable donation to the City of Hope during the campaign.”
He added that the promotion helps bring more awareness to mushrooms and the product’s health and nutritional benefits, which have been reported to be helpful in preventing breast cancer.
Mr. Donovan said that foodservice operators are using more Shiitake, Portabella and Crimini mushrooms.
“Economics have changed in recent years, and restaurants are now looking to put something different on their menus to make themselves stand out,” he said. “Casual dining establishments are putting more unique mushroom varieties on their menus, and mushroom burgers are on menus at all restaurant levels today.”
Casual, quick-serve and fast food chain restaurants account for millions of pounds of mushroom sales annually.
Foodservice operators are very concerned about food safety today, and Mr. Donovan said that many require specific certifications. “Foodservice buyers routinely ask for our certifications, and they want to know where we’re going with product traceability,” he said.
Two years ago, Phillips Mushroom Farms completed construction of its new facility in Warwick, PA. Each room in the high-tech facility is climate controlled by computers, and each growing room is harvested multiple times throughout the day.
“Our mushrooms are harvested at their optimum size,” said Mr. Donovan. “Pasteurized, uniformly inoculated substrate is loaded into specially designed, sanitized trucks for transport to the facility. A uniform substrate creates ideal growing conditions throughout the 10,000-square-foot growing room.”
The three-and-a-half-acre facility is under one roof, and it is Mushroom Good Agricultural Practices certified. The facility provides 20 percent more production and delivers 200,000 pounds of mushrooms each week.
“We are in the process of expanding the Warwick facility,” said Mr. Donovan. “The expansion project will increase the size of our white mushroom production by 50 percent. And we are preparing for our SQF [Safe Quality Food] certification in the fall.”
Mr. Donovan added that the company is committed to growing more pesticide-free product.
Phillips Mushroom Farms produces a full range of conventional, gourmet and exotic mushrooms. Its line includes Oyster, Maitake, Beech, Enoki, Royal Trumpet and Pom Pom mushrooms.
The company, founded in the late 1920s by William Phillips, is now in its third generation of family ownership and operation. State-of-the-art technology, commitment to marketing and a personal approach to its business have made Phillips Mushroom Farms one of the larger marketers of specialty mushrooms in the United States. The company distributes over 35 million pounds of specialty mushrooms annually.