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The Canadian Business Journal
industry, the labour issues that growers are fac-
ing and the nutritional and health benefits of
eating mushrooms.
Growing Fresh Canadian
In Canada, mushrooms are commercially
grown in every province, with the exception of
Saskatchewan and Newfoundland. The most
popular mushroom is the white button. Brown
mushrooms, such as crimini and portabella,
belong to the same species. The white and
brown mushroom varieties make up 90% of the
crop in Canada. Ontario produces 57% of mush-
room crop, British Columbia produces 27%,
the Prairies produce 12% and eastern Canada
produce 4%. The total amount of mushrooms
produced annually in Canada is approximately
105 million kilograms. In 2006, approximately 30
million kilograms, or more than one-quarter of
the crop, were exported to the United States.
Specialty mushrooms are rapidly growing
in sales. Burlington-based Enviro Mushroom
Farm Inc. grows, packs and markets specialty
mushrooms in the most up-to-date and envi-
ronmentally controlled facility. It produces
special varieties such as king oyster, enoki,
hon shimejii, nameko and oyster mushrooms.
Sung says that the sale of specialty mushrooms
has doubled each year. “We now supply the
President’s Choice brand to Loblaws and also
we export to the U.S. in New York, New Jersey,
and the Maryland area. About 30% of our total
production is exported to the U.S.”
“American consumers love our Canadian
products so I think there are a lot of great oppor-
tunities there not simply because of the dollar,
but also because they love our great products,”
Sung adds.
Mushrooms are grown on a pasteurized
substrate containing nitrogen and carbon. The
carbon comes from wheat straw, hay or in Enviro
Mushroom’s case, sawdust. Mushroom farmers
mix the carbon and nitrogen sources with gyp-
sum and water, creating a nutritionally-balanced
“clean dirt” for growing. During this process, the
farmer ensures that pests and pathogens are
destroyed by applying intense heat to the sub-
strate. It is then pasteurized to guarantee that
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