With over 300,000 square feet under roof, we grow our mushrooms in specially designed, climate-controlled growing rooms. This allows us to give our mushrooms the perfect environment throughout the year, regardless of what the Texas weather outside decides to do.
"Kitchen Pride has developed a state-of-the-art process for growing the freshest, local, highest quality and consistently supplied mushroom that can be found throughout Texas."
The process starts with the “secret sauce”: our compost. We begin by mixing together several different agricultural by-products: wheat straw (from Texas wheat farms), cottonseed hulls and burrs (from Texas cotton farms), spent brewer’s grains (from Texas breweries), poultry manure (from Gonzales County poultry farms), Gonzales County water, and other organic ingredients. The ratios have to be just right; if anything’s off – even just a bit – the production will suffer, or the mushrooms just might not want to grow at all. The mixture is then intensely composted for a couple of weeks, while moisture levels are monitored. After just a few weeks, the mixture has turned from a waxy, yellow color to a soft, chocolate-brown color and is packed with nutrients.
After about three weeks, we load the compost into shelves in a large room called a “Phase II” room. In this room the compost undergoes a pasteurization process by bringing it through a very specific range of temperatures, killing any potential pathogens and “curing” the compost. When the compost comes out of the room it has somewhat of a sweet, earthy smell, and is ready-to-eat mushroom food!
Once Phase II is completed, we’re ready to add the mushroom “seed” called “spawn”. The spawn is usually sterile millet seed that has been inoculated with a pure mushroom culture. Spawn is sprinkled throughout the compost and then loaded into shelves in a growing room. Over a couple of weeks, the mushroom’s root-system (called mycelia) spreads out from the millet seeds and takes over the compost until the compost almost looks like cotton.
A thin layer of peat-moss called “casing” is then added to the top of the compost. As soon the mycelia has grown through this layer, the environment in the room is changed. This causes the mycelia to begin to knit together at the top of the casing, forming tiny mushrooms. Once they’re about the size of the head of a pin, they will double in size every 24 hours!
"From planting the spawn, to picking the first mushrooms takes only about 5 weeks..."
- Greg McLain
When the mushrooms are ready, they are all harvested by hand directly into the final container. This one touch process helps us to preserve the quality of our mushrooms. The containers then get placed onto conveyors and take a ride directly into our packing facility, where they are vacuum-cooled and shipped out to your grocery store usually within hours of being harvested.
Kitchen Pride delivers fresh mushrooms to most Texas markets each and every evening on Kitchen Pride owned-and-operated trucks.