Leckford Estate has 16 growing rooms specifically created for mushroom crop production. We produce the finest quality Chestnut mushrooms on the Estate, including pre-packed products and loose products. Mushrooms are harvested at different times of maturity producing different product lines. Our crop consists of five lines in total: Chestnut Cups, Portabellini, Portabella, South of England and 2kg loose Chestnut Cups. In order to achieve the finest mushrooms, each room maintains a 16-18-degree temperature.
We have been producing mushrooms on the Estate since 1986 and typically harvest 25-26 tonnes of Chestnut mushrooms per week on The Waitrose Farm, each carefully hand picked and packaged for protection.
In order to guarantee you have the best produce we have an established team to make this happen. This includes a devoted team of 55 partners including harvesters, a pack of house team, a production and growing team, a servicing team, a Quality and Technical team and on-site engineers. Our Partners work together to make certain that the mushrooms they deliver are the highest standard.
The team includes growers who live just 75 paces from the mushroom farm, they ensures the quality of the mushrooms produced are checked regularly to maintain the growth and the highest standards possible. The dedication of all our Partners contributes to us delivering the finest mushrooms daily.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
Mushrooms are delicate fresh products and can be bruised very easily. It is important that they individually pass our four measures of quality control. This operation is done by our harvesting team whilst they are picking the mushrooms and also quality checked by our quality and technical team. This includes asking these five questions:
- Is the top of the mushroom a nicely rounded shape with an evenly cut stalk?
- Is the mushroom an even colour?
- Does the mushroom have feathering around the outside, making the edges ragged and rough?
- Is the mushroom a good density?
- Are the mushrooms presented beautifully in the punnet?
Each mushroom is carefully handpicked by our team who work in the growing rooms on The Waitrose Farm. This is then transported straight into punnets ready to be delivered.