Nestled at the foot of the South Downs, just outside the village of Storrington West Sussex, lies Merryhill Mushrooms. Supplying local pubs, restaurants, farm shops and wholesale with the finest organically grown chestnut and exotic mushrooms, Merryhill Mushrooms have carved their niche for mushroom expertise and excellence in the Sussex area.
Who are Merryhill Mushrooms?
With expertise built over six generations, Merryhill Mushrooms started in 1914 with Sir Arthur Linfield, horticulturalist and founder of Chesswood Mushrooms. His grandson Dick Rucklidge is now chief grower – after an interesting career in growing and consultancy for advising companies across the world. Today, Dick’s wife Miriam runs the office, daughter Tracey takes mushrooms to local markets and food fairs and grandson Kieran is in charge of the web sales, the wholesale business and manages new products. If there’s one quote that sums it all up: “Mushrooms are definitely part of the family!”
With new product launches, more varieties of both mushrooms produced and mushroom kits on offer, the mushrooms business is growing in both size and popularity!
What type of mushrooms do Merryhill Mushrooms grow?
Everything! We have some weird and wonderful varieties now which you’d be hard pushed to find in the supermarkets such as our Nameko Mushrooms. But our main speciality is chestnut and portabello mushrooms. These are actually the same variety of mushroom just picked at different sizes: the chestnut “closed cup” mushrooms are picked off the block earlier, while 10-12 are left to grow into big mature portabello mushrooms perfectly for stuffing!
We started with the chestnuts and portabelllos, later branching out into more exotic mushrooms while also increasing our production of the chestnuts. Starting with one growing shed, we now have four spaces all tailored to suit each mushroom variety, as the conditions to grow each type varies hugely and not all of them get on together! There’s definitely an art to growing different varieties.
The oysters and shiitakes are grown in slightly different conditions and are popular with adventurous foodies and restaurants. The vibrant yellows and pinks are used in our mixed Restaurant trays
How do Merryhill Mushrooms grow their crops?
The mushrooms are produced in specially built mushroom ‘sheds’, with each shed equipped with systems to regulate temperatures, humidity and air exchange. Each crop of mushroom are looked after carefully throughout the growing cycle – you can really tell the difference with the taste of lovingly grown, fresh local produce! We believe in reducing the time from pick to plate. The benefits of this are easily observed when comparing both the look and taste of fresh mushrooms compared to imported mushrooms. (You’ll just have to try them to taste taste the difference!)
To start the growing process we have to combine the mushroom compost with a top layer of casing peat. This is a non-nutritious layer which the mushroom mycelium colonizes, then forming its fruit body “pins” whilst drawing nutrition from the compost below. Around 20 days later, with careful looking-after, the first crop of mushrooms is ready to pick!
Got a taste for mushrooms after reading this? We supply both loose mushrooms and pre-packed punnets for residential use which are perfect for mushroom recipes!
You can order Merryhill Mushrooms from the Fin and Farm website here. Have you tried their incredible mushroom jerky? This veggie/vegan snack packs a flavour punch, and just has to be tried to be believed!
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