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Country Fresh expands into state-of-the-art facility

On March 8, Country Fresh Mushroom Co., now headquartered in Toughkenamon, PA, announced that it has moved to a newly constructed facility to accommodate its expanding production requirements.

The 60,000-square-foot plant and office building located in Toughkenamon, PA, is among the five largest mushroom processing facilities in North America and houses a state-of-the-art operation.

New-Bldg-PhotoCountry Fresh Mushroom Co.’s newly constructed facility in Toughkenamon, PA.The 60,000-square-foot operation is one of the top five in North America. The new facility provides Country Fresh with 50 percent more space than its former location in Avondale, PA, where the company had been operating at maximum capacity. It has been a leading supplier of fresh mushrooms since 1925.

The move to the new location, however, was all about more than added space.

“We saw this as an opportunity to apply the very latest technologies and processing innovations to everything that we’ve learned about quality, safety and efficiency in nearly 90 years of business,” Edward Leo, chairman and chief executive officer for Country Fresh said in a press release dated March 8. “For example, we’ve been able to incorporate food safety features right into the building’s design and to accommodate our quality assurance steps in a very smooth production flow.”

Noteworthy innovations and installations in the new space include an efficient layout for production efficiency, increased refrigeration capacity with advanced control systems, an expanded lab to support quality assurance and product development, water conservation methods that cut consumption by more than 40 percent and increased cooler space dedicated to other fresh produce items.

In the press release, Jim Howard, president and chief operating officer for Country Fresh said, “Every design specification was made to support the product quality and freshness our customers have come to expect. We maintain Level 3 certification under the stringent SQF 2000 standard, and so we adhere to one of the industry’s most rigorous foodsafety and quality programs. This new facility will make delivering against those standards easier throughout our inspection, packing and shipping steps.”

Bob Besix, senior vice president of sales and marketing added, “The dedicated cold storage space in the new facility also expands our capacity to offer other fresh produce items that complement our mushrooms, and allows us to continue expanding the outside freight services that we offer through our subsidiary, CF Logistics.”

Approximately 150 employees work in the building, which incorporates the highest occupational safety measures. Mr. Leo credits CH&E Construction from Lancaster, PA, with making the year-long construction process go smoothly, completing the building on time and within budget.

“They are superb builders and were very attentive to our needs throughout,” said Mr. Leo.

Country Fresh Mushroom Co. is the only fresh mushroom supplier in the United States that operates as a co-operative of independent farms. The company and its dedicated group of growers have been growing top-quality mushrooms since 1925. Today, it is one of the nation’s most trusted mushroom suppliers, delivering fresh mushrooms to a diverse customer base throughout the United States.