The Story of the First Mushroom Farm in U.A.E
Consumption of mushrooms dates back thousands of years. The Chinese culture considers mushrooms as a health food, an "elixir of life." Historically, mushrooms were famous for their culinary benefits. They are also low in calories, carbs, fat, and sodium. As an added bonus, they are also cholesterol-free.
In recent years, mushroom farming has become one of the most rapidly growing farming businesses. Mushroom farming is the best choice to reduce waste and to amend the soil. It is a process that involves both science and art. While, the first analyzes how farms control temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide within their growing rooms. The latter concept refers to the process of adjusting all growing parameters according to past experiences and observations.
The first mushroom farm in U.A.E. is the Kinoko Farms, famous for its white button mushrooms, wild mushrooms, dried mushrooms, and premium tofu. Kinoko Mushroom Farm is a high-tech farm that uses modern technology to maintain the right climatic conditions in its growing rooms. They also ensure a pesticide-free environment to cultivate premium-quality mushrooms.
The idea behind the farm
Having successfully operated for more than 20 years in the international market, Kinoko Farms decided to build a farm in Dubai five years ago to produce premium quality mushrooms that are handpicked and delivered the same day, offering a fresher, longer-lasting product. This idea came into life when the company realized that U.A.E. frequently imported a large number of mushrooms.
The process of setting up the farm began in 2015, and in December 2017, locally grown Kinoko mushrooms were on the shelves of every store in the U.A.E.
The introduction of vitamin D enriched mushrooms
All of us learn how too much sunlight damages our skin early on. People often say, wear sunscreen to avoid getting sunburned or skin cancer or don't look directly at the sun as it can damage your eyes. How about the fact that not enough sunlight can be damaging too?
Sunlight has a significant impact on human body functions, such as sleep schedules, energy levels, and mental health. It produces serotonin and melatonin, two hormones used by the body to regulate sleep. Your serotonin and melatonin levels can drop if you don't get enough sun exposure, which can cause several sleep disorders and fatigue.
An official study by the Dubai Health Authority in 2017 indicated that 90% of the population might be deficient in vitamin D. This vitamin helps improve bone health by providing an adequate amount of calcium and phosphate, and it also reduces the risk of cancer and diabetes. In addition, it strengthens the immune system and decreases the risk of respiratory ailments. So, it was crucial for Kinoko farms to develop a solution for the citizens to get sufficient vitamin D.
At the end of 2019, Kinoko launched a new line of locally grown Vitamin D enriched mushrooms. These mushrooms were grown by being exposed to specific light spectrums that increase their vitamin D production naturally. A serving of 4 to 5 D+ mushrooms provides a good amount of vitamin D for your body.
Apart from locally grown white, brown, and portobello mushrooms, the farm also offers exotic varieties grown by its partners in South Korea, and the E.U. Kinoko Farms places a high priority on the quality and freshness of its mushrooms. Therefore, they handpick every mushroom and ship them immediately.
Production & technology
At present, Kinoko farms are producing 3,000kg of mushrooms per day. They grow more than 30 varieties, including white & brown button mushrooms, portobellos, oysters, enoki, shimeji, shiitake, and more.
Various kinds of mushrooms require specific growing conditions. For white button mushrooms, the growth process includes six stages: composting, spawning, casing, pinning, cropping, and harvesting. Growing mature white button mushrooms takes approximately six weeks from cultivating the mycelium to picking the first batch. Regardless of the weather outside, indoor farming helps maintain the right climatic conditions year-round.
A team of experienced farmers and specially trained field staff runs this farm following strict protocols. Mushrooms are grown, picked, processed, packed, stored, and delivered in hygienic, safe conditions by hand. They use cutting-edge technology to produce high-yielding, top-quality mushrooms throughout the year. A monitoring system is in place from the beginning of the growing process till the end of the distribution chain to assure the highest possible standard of mushrooms.
Kinoko Farms also conducts regular audits to ensure food safety, quality, & value addition to the clients. In addition, Kinoko Farms applies international standards ISO 22000:2005, HACCP, & Global G.A.P. to ensure food safety, quality, and value addition for their clients throughout the production process. Along with mushrooms, Kinoko also offers fruits and vegetables from partner farms in South Africa, Kenya, Peru, and Chile.
Health benefits of mushrooms
- Mushroom varieties, such as shiitake and oyster mushrooms provide all the essential nutrients needed for the human body.
- The bioactive components in white button mushrooms provide several health benefits, including fighting cancer and lowering cholesterol. Moreover, they are low in calories and high in protein.
- Among the various mushroom varieties, many contain an abundance of vitamin B, while others have a high level of vitamin C.
- In mushrooms, ergosterol, a precursor to vitamin D, is found in the cellular wall. Upon exposure to direct sunlight, this compound transforms into vitamin D.
- Aside from macronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus, mushrooms are also rich in micronutrients like copper, iron, selenium, manganese, and zinc.
- In contrast to many health supplements, mushrooms often contain minerals in ionic form that the body can absorb.
- Several studies have shown that mushrooms boost your immunity to diseases as they contain antioxidants that combat free radicals.
- The protein content of fresh mushrooms is between 3 and 4 per cent; when dried, it is between 19 and 35 percent.
- Most mushrooms are a powerhouse of all the essential amino acids, and some varieties even contain relatively high levels of lysine.
Kinoko Farm is committed to investing in local agriculture in the U.A.E. and supporting food security. As the first mushroom farm in Dubai, Kinoko is committed to growing mushrooms of the highest quality and ensuring freshness, reliability, and consistency in delivering their products to customers.
To order farm-fresh mushrooms from Kinoko farms, head to the Farmbox website and place your orders now!