How One Farm is Harnessing Waste to Improve Soil Health and Put the Best Mushrooms on Your Pizza

The growers at Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms are part of an awesome cycle of care
Feb 26, 2018 11:05 AM ET
Photo: DesignDesign

By Ryan Riddle, MS

When you take a bite of a hot slice of California Pizza Kitchen’s Mushroom and Green Onion pizza, you’re surely not thinking of mushroom farms, organic soil and sustainability.

Next time, perhaps you will.

What you might not know is that those mushrooms, and the farmers who grow them at the Pennsylvania-based Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms, are part of an awesome cycle of care that supports organic farms throughout the East Coast. Nestlé values the farm’s high-quality mushrooms, their rich flavor and the nutritional boost they provide — but we also seek out partners like Mother Earth to create shared value that goes beyond the products we create.

Meghan Klotzbach, part of the sixth-generation of her family to grow mushrooms at Mother Earth, explained the cycle begins with developing a compost that the mushrooms will be grown in. The compost consists of waste materials from other farms, such as hay, straw, cottonseed hulls, corncobs, chicken litter and horse manure.

Developing this compost, called a substrate, benefits farmers, helps to decrease landfill use and produces healthy, tasty mushrooms.

“We’re paying them for waste materials, giving them added income so they can keep growing their business, and keeping waste out of the landfill,” she said.

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