Meadow Mushrooms

The Farm

Part of the landscape since 1970

From our farm to your table

The Meadow Mushrooms’ farm is based in Canterbury, where it first began some 50 years ago. Since then, it’s continued to grow - along with kiwis’ love for mushrooms. Continual investment and a genuine commitment to sustainable business practices has seen it flourish into the country’s largest and only fully integrated mushroom farm - complete with farm and pack house and serviced by a spawn lab and a compost yard, both in nearby sites.

Being fully integrated means we can oversee the mushroom journey from start to finish - making sure we deliver the very best mushrooms, at the very best value, from our farm to your local store or restaurant daily.

No Alt

9 million+

mushrooms hand-picked on our farm every week.

450

plus employees across 5 sites

16 days

after the compost enters the growing room, the first mushrooms are ready to be picked.

Meadow Mushrooms

We’ve turned growing New Zealand’s best mushrooms into a real craft. Here’s how it’s done.

Meadow Mushrooms

1. Raw Natural Compost

Compost is the ‘substrate’ in which our mushrooms grow. It’s made up of three basic raw materials - wheat straw, chicken manure and gypsum - and it’s where the mushrooms get all their essential goodness and nutrients. Preparing and mixing the compost takes about two weeks before it’s pasteurised.

Meadow Mushrooms: 2. Spawning

2. Spawning

Once the compost is pasteurised, we mix it with mushroom ‘spawn’. In the same way you might plant seeds in soil, we plant spawn in compost. Spawn is grain-coated with mycelium (the vegetative part of fungi) which then grows into the compost. The key is careful management of the heat generated as the mycelium grows.

Meadow Mushrooms: 3. Casing & Growing

3. Casing & Growing

The fully colonised compost now has a 5cm thick layer of peat (mushroom casing) covering it. This performs two important functions; it has a ‘buffering’ effect that helps the compost not dry out during cropping, and it contains naturally occurring microbes that encourage the mycelium to fruit. Nurtured with water, temperature and humidity, the magic soon begins! Tiny mushrooms start appearing (this is called ‘pinning’), and just 16 days after the compost entered the growing room we can pick our first mushrooms.

Meadow Mushrooms: 4. Hand-picked harvesting

4. Hand-picked harvesting

When the mushrooms reach the right size, our harvesters hand-pick them directly into the box or punnet. We grow four different types of mushrooms – White Buttons, Swiss Brown Buttons, Portabello and Shiitake mushrooms. Mushrooms double in size every 24 hours so they need to be picked at the right time, before they get too big.

Meadow Mushrooms: 5. ‘Spent’ Compost

5. ‘Spent’ Compost

Once all the mushrooms have been picked, the growing room is emptied before we refill it and start the process all over again. A typical large growing room can contain as much as 150 tonnes of compost and peat - or ‘spent compost’. Full of nutrients and organic goodness, it’s emptied out of the trays and shelves into trucks and used by farmers and gardeners as a fertiliser to help grow a variety of crops, which can sometimes end up as organic matter for our future compost. So nothing goes to waste and it helps create a circular eco-system.

 

Meadow Mushrooms: 6. Premium Shiitake

6. Premium Shiitake

China has been cultivating mushrooms since 600 A.D., so that was where we turned to find the best Shiitake mycelium to grow on our farm! We tested lots of different strains until we found the perfect one - superior in quality and flavour. To make the journey from China to New Zealand, the mycelium is combined into a sawdust mix and kept under careful hygiene conditions. The growing process is triggered once it arrives into our Canterbury growing rooms on a separate site, dedicated exclusively to this variety - sticking to strict NZ safety standards at all times. Once the Shiitake is fully grown, we hand-pick and pack on our farm, fresh for delivery.

Meet the farm team

Some of the people behind our mushrooms.

Mark Reeves

Compost Manager

Mark started with Meadow Mushrooms as a ‘Box Boy’ (shed hand) back in 1985. Since then he’s moved through the Packing Shed and Watering Gang to become a Mushroom Grower, Production Manager and now Compost Manager at Giggs Crossing - New Zealand’s lar......

Mark Reeves

Mark Reeves

Compost Manager

Mark started with Meadow Mushrooms as a ‘Box Boy’ (shed hand) back in 1985. Since then he’s moved through the Packing Shed and Watering Gang to become a Mushroom Grower, Production Manager and now Compost Manager at Giggs Crossing - New Zealand’s largest mushroom composting plant. Mark finds the mushroom industry fascinating and fun and when he’s not facilitating the production of over 1,200 tonnes of compost each week and managing the health and safety of his team, you’ll find him mountain biking, dirt biking or skiing the slopes.

Mark Reeves

Kirsten McCallum

Technical Co-ordinator

Diversity is a key theme of Kirsten’s time at Meadow Mushrooms and her current role. A career which began in 2017 as Receptionist, led to Customer Services, S&OP Admin and now Technical Co-ordinator, where no two days are the same. She’s worked on ev......

Kirsten McCallum

Kirsten McCallum

Technical Co-ordinator

Diversity is a key theme of Kirsten’s time at Meadow Mushrooms and her current role. A career which began in 2017 as Receptionist, led to Customer Services, S&OP Admin and now Technical Co-ordinator, where no two days are the same. She’s worked on everything from establishing our specialty Shiitake Mushroom growing operation to refining the way we grow mushrooms, enhancing our compost, improving packaging sustainability and reducing carbon emissions - something very close to her heart. Kirsten also loves the great outdoors: hiking, biking or swimming in one of Christchurch’s many beautiful bays.

Kirsten McCallum

Caleen Xue

Harvester

Caleen is a Mushroom Harvester at our farm, where she picks the best quality mushrooms, fresh each day to meet specified size, variety and quantity demands. She’s enjoyed being part of the Meadow Mushrooms family for nearly 10 years, thanks to the su......

Caleen Xue

Caleen Xue

Harvester

Caleen is a Mushroom Harvester at our farm, where she picks the best quality mushrooms, fresh each day to meet specified size, variety and quantity demands. She’s enjoyed being part of the Meadow Mushrooms family for nearly 10 years, thanks to the supportive work environment and friendly workmates around her. In her spare time, Caleen likes listening to music and turning her hand to the art of Chinese dim sum making.

Caleen Xue

Hunter Peng

Packing Shed

Hunter started out as a Mushroom Harvester in 2017. You’ll now find him at our Packing Shed, where he works in the Pre-pack, Scale and Despatch area, is a team leader in the Slicing room, and drives a forklift to move the packed product from farm she......

Hunter Peng

Hunter Peng

Packing Shed

Hunter started out as a Mushroom Harvester in 2017. You’ll now find him at our Packing Shed, where he works in the Pre-pack, Scale and Despatch area, is a team leader in the Slicing room, and drives a forklift to move the packed product from farm shed to despatch. It’s the variety and hands-on learning that Hunter loves - something that carries through into his love of gardening and carpentry at home.

Hunter Peng

Greg Balazs

Grower

Variety is one of the things Greg enjoys most about working at Meadow Mushrooms and it’s something he’s seen plenty of in his time here - starting out as a Waterer before becoming a Grower Assistant. Now with more responsibility as a Grower, Greg’s t......

Greg Balazs

Greg Balazs

Grower

Variety is one of the things Greg enjoys most about working at Meadow Mushrooms and it’s something he’s seen plenty of in his time here - starting out as a Waterer before becoming a Grower Assistant. Now with more responsibility as a Grower, Greg’s tasked with creating optimal mushroom-growing conditions that deliver the perfect balance between quality and quantity. This means taking care of each shed, overseeing its progress and development, and working closely with the Engineering, Harvesting and Production departments. A self-confessed board game fanatic, you’ll also find Greg fishing, gardening and spending time in the great outdoors.

Greg Balazs