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Mother Earth launching organic lion’s mane mushrooms this summer

By
Keith Loria

Mother Earth LLC operates 53 growing houses throughout southern Chester County in West Grove, Oxford, and Landenberg, PA, and has built a robust legacy in the organic mushroom industry.

The category weathered the pandemic and things look solid in 2022.

“We’ve had a good ride so far in the year; production has been able to meet demand, and that’s a good thing coming out of the pandemic,” said Mark Kreiner, outside sales coordinator for the company. “We’re seeing growth in our organic mushrooms as we’re seeing more retailers transition to almost 100 percent organic on the shelf, rather than running conventional and organic together.”

He understands that way of thinking, because he feels it’s a better product for the consumers and the price gap has closed significantly from where it was just a few years ago.

“It provides a better option for them and meets the demand of the consumer,” Kreiner said. “We’re seeing a large uptick in that respect.”

Mother Earth also recently picked up the Sprouts’ Florida deal, and that’s 100 percent organic.

“We’ve been steady and able to meet production to meet the rising demand,” Kreiner said. “We’re looking forward as we get into the warmer months to have a good supply of Portabella caps for summer grilling events.”

To meet that rising interest, Mother Earth launched its 14-ounce grilling pack last year, comprised of a four-pack of Portabella caps. That will be heavily promoted this year at key times for the holidays.

“It’s a nice value scenario for the consumer,” Kreiner said. “We’re also looking at some promotions on sliced white baby bella to be used as salad ingredients. And of course, we’ll promote the whole white and whole baby bellas for grilling kabobs.”

Although freight costs remain the big elephant in the room, Mother Earth has been trying to negotiate some freight contracts to even the costs.

“We’ve been able to get through with the peat moss shortage, keeping production up, and that’s something that in the future we’re going to have to address as growers look for a substitute for peat moss,” Kreiner said. “That’s another challenge we see laying ahead of us.”

In 2022, Mother Earth has some additional customers coming aboard in August, and is excited about what’s ahead.

“We feel with our heritage as an organic farm primarily, even though we’ve transitioned to conventional mushrooms to be a full-line supplier, we can further our reach geographically,” Kreiner said. “This is a good time to look for some controlled expansion.”

In mid-summer, Mother Earth will be launching a retail lion’s mane organic SKU, which is one of the hottest mushrooms out there today.

“It’s loaded with nutrients and health benefits, and if you go into any vitamin shop, you’ll see various SKUs of powdered lion’s mane,” Kreiner said. “We felt, what a better way to get those key attributes to the consumer in its natural form.”

The company is talking with its customers on discovering better ways to get the message out about the mushrooms, be it inks to recipe books, appearances in store magazines or even shelf talkers as a point-of-purchase snapshot for the consumer.

“We want to offer more information to the consumer and get them to the purchase,” Kreiner said.

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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