Food and Drink - Spring 2011 - (Page 122)

>p PRODUCERS rakhra mushroom farm Good Conditions Rakhra Mushroom Farm turns an unusual business into a success. By Jamie Morgan The operation got a major boost in 2004 when, to compensate for the mountain’s thin air, the company began incorporating a system of tunnels and bunkers into its composting. The mushrooms now flourish in a 10-acre enclosed farm pumped with enough heat and moisture to create an ideal mushroom incubator. “This is not a great place to have a farm,” notes Don Clair, Rakhra’s controller. “It’s way too dry and we only get about an inch of rain a year, so we try to adopt a lot of technology that comes from Europe, and find ways to make compost that maximizes the capabilities of the raw materials and better control the process.” The air Rakhra injects into the compost elevates the growing area’s oxygen level to mimic that of a lower altitude. In perfecting this system, Rakhra achieved a milestone in 2008 when it reached its highest productivity rates. Each mushroom tray is approximately six feet long, four feet wide and 18 inches tall. The company grew six pounds of mushrooms per square foot of growing bed area, which amounts to 15 million pounds annually. It set that number as its benchmark and has maintained it for the past two years. The company also has added to its product lines in the last two years. Before, the company produced only white mushrooms. Also known as button mushrooms, these are white or beige with a smooth texture. They are popular in recipes, but Clair says Rakhra’s customers demanded variety. “We added portabella and crimini mushrooms two years ago out of necessity,” Clair says. “Our customers wanted them, but we had trouble purchasing from other farms, so we began growing them ourselves.” >> Rakhra Mushroom Farm has devised a way to grow mushrooms in the high mountains of Colorado. akhra Mushroom Farm in Alamosa, Colo., exemplifies the phrase “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Mushrooms love low-altitude and high-humidity climates – attributes typically found in mushroom-growing states like Pennsylvania, not in a little valley tucked in the Colorado Rockies at 7,500 feet above sea level. But since the 1980s, Alamosa has been home to a now-thriving mushroom operation. The farm started in 1981, but after incurring millioncompany profile dollar losses in its first years, the facility changed hands Rakhra Mushroom Farm from the original owner to the bank. In 1984, Baljit Nanda purchased it along with friends who all happened to be Headquarters: Alamosa, Colo. Employees: 270 engineers with specialties in agriculture, structural and Specialties: White, crimini and heating and cooling. With their combined brainpower, portabella mushrooms Don Clair, controller: “Whatever we the group knew exactly what type of environment the pick today will be in the grocery mushrooms needed. And, more importantly, they knew store tomorrow.” how to provide it. R 122 food and drink • spring 2011 •

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food and Drink - Spring 2011

Food and Drink - Spring 2011
Tableside Chat
Table of Contents
News a la Carte
Current Events
FAD Exclusive
A Ripening Field
History in the Making
New Wine Paradigm
Don Sebastiani & Sons/ The Other Guys
St. Julian Winery
Ste. Genevieve Winery
Herzog Wine Cellars
Meier’s Wine Cellar
Oak Ridge Winery
Producers: Keeping Trade Secrets
MaMa Rosa’s Pizza
Gel Spice Co. LLC
Vegetable Juices Inc.
Royal Caribbean Bakery/Caribbean Food Delights
Red Stripe Beer
Robertet Flavors
Annabelle Candy
Andrea Foods
Anchor Brewing
F&F Foods
Santa Sweets Inc.
Hillside Candy
Ricos Products
Sethness Greenleaf Inc.
Wunder-Bar: Automatic Bar Controls
Antigua Distillery
AMES International
Amato’s Bakery
Charlie’s Pride Meats
Citromax Group of Companies
Diamond Bakery
Grindmaster- Cecilware Corp.
Heartland Mill
Kirschenman Enterprises
Rakhra Mushroom Farm
FAME Food Management
Schneider Packaging Equipment Co. Inc.
Sea Harvest Corporation (Pty) Ltd.
Sparrer Sausage Co. Inc.
Jamaican Teas Ltd.
Westminster Cracker Co.
Distributors: Don’t Risk It
The Fricks Company
U.S. Foodservice – Milwaukee Division
Arizona Select Distribution
Fairway Packing Co.
Ingredient Innovations
J.J. Taylor Distributing Co. of Minnesota Inc.
Mastronardi Produce
Milne Fruit Products Inc.
Pellerito Foods
Albion Fisheries Ltd.
RPE Inc.
Retailers: Savoring the Moment
Roadtown Wholesale Trading Ltd.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt
Quick Chek
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Sendik’s Fine Foods Inc.
Zaro’s Bakery
Balboa Brands
Restaurants: Toss Around Ideas
Sizzler USA
Dick’s Last Resort
Granite City Food & Brewery Ltd.
Liberty Entertainment Group
Roly Poly Franchise Systems
Santa Fe Cattle Co.
Winger’s USA Inc.
Bensi Restaurant Group Inc.
Leo’s Coney Island
Three Things

Food and Drink - Spring 2011