South Mill Champs has opened a new mushroom farm in Oxford, Pennsylvania, to support increased demand across its customer channels.
According to the company, the facility will be one of North America’s largest single-site mushroom farms. The opening marks the completion of the first stage of a “multi-year, multi-phase” farm and compost operation buildout.
Lewis Macleod, CEO of South Mill Champs, said: “Mushrooms are continuing to surge in popularity as consumers become more proactive about their health”.
He added: “As a company, we’ve experienced tremendous success on the fresh side of the business, and we have grown our portfolio of mushroom-forward food products to align with consumers’ needs as they aim to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets. Increased production will support existing and planned growth across all customer channels.”
Advanced technologies and processes will be implemented at the new facility, such as automated and environmentally efficient climate control and watering systems. South Mill Champs says that modern growing processes and systems will increase product quality while reducing the possibility of “human contact variables” such as cross-contamination.
Once green initiatives such as solar panels are fully implemented, South Mill Champs expects to generate the majority of the facility’s annual electricity from a renewable source. Additionally, it says that it will capture and reuse “millions of gallons of rain and wastewater”. Agricultural byproducts and other waste materials will be upcycled to make compost.
Mike Pia Jr, vice president of business growth at South Mill Champs, commented: “We’ve been innovating since the beginning. Our family has been producing compost and growing mushrooms for over 90 years in Pennsylvania.”
He continued: “Our approach is, and has always been, to stay nimble and adapt to new technologies as they become available and proven. There is a growing demand for fresh, quality produce, and we want to meet that demand with the best product possible for our partners and, ultimately, the consumer. This new facility will allow us to do just that.”
South Mill Champs says that it added over 100 harvesting and operational jobs following the completion of phase one.
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