The mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) is a fungus in the family Agaricaceae.
The edible mushroom Agaricus bisporus has been fully established in the Netherlands and Belgium since the 1970s under the name mushroom, the French word for mushroom. The name mushroom is derived from the Latin campinio which means bell. In the French language, champignon refers to mushrooms in general and the Agaricus bisporus is referred to as champignon de Paris.
History of cultivation
Mushrooms grow in forests and fields where they have been picked since time immemorial. The first documented mushroom cultivation took place in the vicinity of Paris, where mushrooms were grown in 1651 by pouring waste from melon cultivation with (spore-containing) washing water from ripe mushrooms. These were eaten in exclusive Parisian restaurants. In 1707 mushrooms were also grown in vegetable gardens on horse manure.
In about 1780, the gardener Chambry and others discovered that the climate in underground quarries was well suited to growing mushrooms. Mushrooms were grown in the quarries in the vicinity of Paris.
In the Netherlands, mushroom cultivation took place for the first time on an estate in Haarlem, in 1825. It was not until around 1900 that mushroom cultivation started on a larger scale in the Fluweelgrot in Valkenburg and in the Sint-Pietersberg near Maastricht. Scientific research in the Netherlands took place for the first time from 1934 in Naaldwijk and from 1946 in Sint Gerlach. This led to the creation of the first above-ground mushroom farms in 1950. Horst, Kerkdriel and Mook in particular were initially important centers. Later on, more cultivation centers were built, especially in the south of the Netherlands. After Poland, the Netherlands has the largest mushroom production in the European Union and in 2019 was the fifth mushroom producer in the world, after China, Japan and the United States.
In the Netherlands, mushrooms are almost always grown in mushroom cells, on a specially formulated nutrient medium consisting of, among other things, horse manure and casing soil. Basic raw materials for casing soil can be peat, foam soil and marl. Cultivation in the Netherlands mainly takes place in the provinces of Limburg, North Brabant and Gelderland, and in Belgium, among others, in the marl caves of Zichen-Zussen-Bolder (Limburg). In the past, mushrooms were grown in the velvet caves in Valkenburg and in the Sint-Pietersberg near Maastricht. Mushrooms are propagated by a pure culture of mycelium on cereal grains, which is called "brood".
The whole mushroom cultivation process takes about six weeks. Prior to this, the culture medium is produced in about two weeks. This consists of compost of lime, horse manure and chick manure. The cultivation beds are usually filled with compost already grown with mushroom mycelium. The whole is covered with a layer of peat. This casing soil ensures that the humidity and temperature of the compost remain stable. Depending on the variety, a temperature of between 16 and 22 degrees Celsius is maintained.
In the Netherlands and Belgium, harvesting is done both manually and with machines. Hand-picked mushrooms are usually sold fresh. The mechanically harvested mushrooms are used for preserves, in frozen products and semi-preserves.
With manual harvesting, the mushrooms are harvested in three weeks. These harvest moments are called "flights". Harvest takes three to five days per flight. With mechanical harvesting, all mushrooms that are ripe at that time are harvested in one go, after which a second and final cut is made a week later.
By steaming the production cell after it has been emptied, any pathogens that may be present are eradicated. During cultivation, formalin can be used against other fungal infections. Pyrazophos or thiophanate-methyl is used to combat wilt disease. The mushroom fly is controlled with other chemical means.