Mushrooms may accompany other fruits and veggies in the produce aisle, but they’re grown very differently than other plants we eat. There are no fields or forests. No tilling of soil or sowing of seeds. Sunshine isn’t even necessary to grow the nutritious fungi.
Instead, rows and stacks of mushroom-growing beds are lined up in large climate-controlled buildings. They’re kept indoors so they can be grown year-round in optimal environmental conditions. To learn more about the intricacies of growing high-quality mushrooms, we chatted with someone who grows them herself.
Sonya Beltran grows white mushrooms with her family at First Generation Farms in southeastern Pennsylvania. Her dad got started in the industry almost 40 years ago, so she grew up around mushroom farming. Later in life, she joined him at the family business and is now the director of operations. Sonya, along with her dad, mom and best friend, oversee the farm’s operations, while about 70 team members help them care for and harvest mushrooms.