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Mushroom Sustainability

Healthy on the plate. Gentle on the planet.
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From our growing operations and environmental impact to our product development and corporate sustainability initiatives, Monterey Mushrooms® is committed to sustainability on every level.

While mushrooms are recognized for their umami flavor, versatility, and health benefits as an ingredient, they’re also a highly sustainable food source. This is due to the mushroom growing process, which is unique to this renewable crop. Here’s how we build upon this exclusive growing process and facilitate sustainable farming, packaging, and transportation practices across our organization.

 

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How We Grow With Sustainability in Mind

Monterey Mushrooms is a leading grower of fresh mushrooms in North America, with thousands of teammates in seven locations, including Mexico, growing, picking, packing, and shipping millions of pounds of mushrooms annually.

Of course, we didn’t arrive at these accomplishments by chance. We maintain some of the highest quality standards in the industry through hands-on, homegrown management of our entire operation, including our coast-to-coast distribution network, with the help of our affiliate company, Monterey Logistics.

On every level of our company, Monterey Mushrooms is focused on Enhancing People’s Lives by providing products that are high quality, sustainable, and flavorful to consumers, retailers, foodservice operators, and manufacturers alike.

 

What Makes Our Mushroom Growing Process Sustainable?

We spend 23 days perfecting mushroom compost by using secondary and tertiary agricultural products like straw, racehorse bedding, and sources of nitrogen that are available regionally. Many of these materials would otherwise go to the landfill or be incinerated. We use this to feed our spawn (the mushroom's seeds) so they grow into wholesome mushrooms.

Mushrooms also require very little room to grow. We use vertical stacking to maximize the amount of product grown in a given space, resulting in over 1 million mushrooms produced per acre of land.

Our Sustainable Farming Practices

Fresh mushrooms may be the stars of our company, but our farms are backed by a network of thousands of teammates who are the core of our operations. They are the essence of Monterey Mushrooms, the driving force behind our success, and the key reason why we are a leading provider of fresh mushrooms throughout North America. It’s thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team that we are able to seamlessly execute sustainability practices at our facilities.

Water & Electricity

The agriculture industry accounts for a staggering 70% of the world's annual water consumption. Water is a critical resource for sustainable agricultural practices, which is why it's so important for us to identify ways to conserve and reuse water at our farms.

Luckily, mushrooms have the natural benefit of requiring very little water compared to their agricultural counterparts. In fact, growing one pound of mushrooms only requires:

  • 1.0 kW of electricity
  • 1.8 gallons of water
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To put that into perspective, to produce one hamburger takes 660 gallons of water! Producing a pound of mushrooms? Less than two gallons. A drop in the bucket compared to ground beef. This is why we love blending mushrooms with ground beef, also known as The Blend.

Additionally, our sustainable growing process allows us to recycle water by collecting runoff on our compost wharf. The compost wharves are specifically sloped to divert water to catch basins so it can be reused repeatedly throughout the composting process.

Post Mushroom Substrate

After the mushrooms are harvested, we’re left with what we call “spent mushroom substrate,” but outside of growing mushrooms, it’s not spent at all. This spent compost still has plenty of life left in it to be used in other industries, such as landscaping and row crop farming, to amend the soil.

compost wharf

At the end of the mushroom lifecycle, the spent compost is heated, rendering it free of weed seeds and disease when reintroduced to the soil. When paired with nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, and slow-release nitrogen, post mushroom substrate helps:

  • Usefulness of water properties
  • Microbiota
  • The improvement of soil structure
  • And much more

We contract this hearty compost to companies who repurpose it for other agricultural crops or landscaping purposes.

Reduced Carbon Footprint

Furthermore, mushrooms have a much lower carbon footprint than the majority of other protein and veggie sources. Mushrooms are not only delicious, healthy, and a great meat substitute, but they are also a sustainable food product that people can feel good about buying. Mushrooms only have 0.5 kilograms (kg) of CO2 emissions per pound of consumed food, making them a better alternative than other foods that have higher CO2 emissions.

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Food Miles

Food miles refer to the distance your food travels from the farm to your plate. The more miles your food has to travel, the higher the carbon emissions associated with its transportation.

At Monterey Mushrooms, we have seven packing facilities strategically located across North America to shorten total food miles and provide fresher produce to tables around the country. Why opt for produce from 3,000 miles away when there’s an option closer to home?

To that end, we travel about 8 million miles per year to deliver millions of pounds of fresh mushrooms to most major cities in the United States. With our strategic farm locations, we can minimize these food miles and reduce our carbon footprint. So when you purchase Monterey Mushrooms, you're making a choice that supports local farmers and significantly reduces harmful emissions!

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Recycling

Our Sustainable Packaging

We are in the business of fresh produce, which is highly perishable and has a short shelf life. A mushroom is packed, shipped, and sold within 10-14 days before it’s no longer edible. We have put significant research into learning what packaging types work for our products to ensure they reach their full shelf life to provide the freshest produce to consumers.

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Tills

At Monterey Mushrooms, we have taken a significant step toward a greener future by transitioning our tills (containers) to black rPET with NIR detectable colorant made from 100% post-consumer recycled material.

This packaging combination reduces plastic waste in landfills by contributing to a circular economy, minimizes greenhouse gas emissions, and ensures that the packaging can be properly sorted and recycled into new products.

Master Cartons

Additionally, we optimize our master cartons for size and our master shippers use as little ink as possible to further reduce our carbon footprint. As a supplier, we have the power to make a difference by choosing packaging that prioritizes sustainability.

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Our Sustainable Materials Commitment

We are always looking for innovative ways to improve sustainability and deliver the freshest product to our customers.

As a member of the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) Sustainability Committee, we’re committed to a shared vision with others from across the packaging industry: we strive to source sustainable packaging that is both domestic and recyclable. We make a conscious effort to source packaging materials with the lowest carbon footprint possible.

By coming together and embracing affordable and sustainable packaging solutions, we can ensure that our packaging choices align with our shared commitment to a greener planet.

Sustainability Is in Everything We Do

At the end of every day, our goal is to Enhance People’s Lives and that includes making sure we’re good stewards of our planet. And that doesn’t happen by accident. Every decision we make promotes the long-term sustainability of our environment: our culture, our company, our values, our people, and the people we feed.

Monterey Mushrooms is committed to sustainability and aims to make a positive environmental impact through its growing practices and packaging choices.

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