The grand opening marks the completion of phase one of a multi-year, multi-phase buildout plan and will feature the latest in controlled environment agriculture processes and technology
South Mill Champs, one of North America’s largest growers and suppliers of fresh mushrooms and mushroom products announced the grand opening of its new state-of-the-art farm in Oxford, Pa. The new facility will be one of North America’s largest single-site mushroom farms and one of the largest phase 3 composting operations. The grand opening marks the completion of the first phase of the multi-year, multi-phase farm and compost operation buildout.
“Mushrooms are continuing to surge in popularity as consumers become more proactive about their health,” said Lewis Macleod, CEO of South Mill Champs. “As a company, we’ve experienced tremendous success on the fresh side of the business and we have grown our portfolio of mushroom-forward food products to align with consumers’ needs as they aim to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets. Increased production will support existing and planned growth across all customer channels.”
Industry-leading technological advancements and processes will be implemented at the new facility, including automated and environmentally efficient climate control and watering systems. Modern growing processes and systems will provide increased product quality while reducing the possibility of cross-contamination and other human contact variables. These process and technological advancements will improve controls and the cold chain at all stages of production, resulting in improved mushroom production yields and a premium product.
“We’ve been innovating since the beginning,” said Mike Pia Jr., VP of Business Growth at South Mill Champs. “Our family has been producing compost and growing mushrooms for over 90 years in Pennsylvania. Our approach is and has always been, to stay nimble and adapt to new technologies as they become available and proven. There is a growing demand for fresh quality produce, and we want to meet that demand with the best product possible for our partners and, ultimately, the consumer. This new facility will allow us to do just that.”
The facility build was contracted to local construction partners with experience in the mushroom industry. The steel used in the structural construction of the facility was sourced directly from Pennsylvania steel mills. In addition, South Mill Champs added over one hundred harvesting and operational jobs upon completion of phase one of this multi-year build-out.
Green initiatives, including solar panels and water-reducing processes and technologies, are being implemented at this facility in line with the company’s commitment to sustainability and water stewardship. Once fully implemented, on an annual basis, the facility will generate the majority of its electricity from a renewable source, capture and reuse millions of gallons of rain and wastewater, and upcycle thousands of tons of agricultural byproducts and other waste materials in the making of compost.
The new facility will continue the company’s commitment to food safety, undergoing the USDA-sanctioned Mushroom Good Agricultural Practices (MGAP) audit, following the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Program, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), and the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) protocols and preventative controls for human food. The facility will also boast world-class employee safety standards, a top priority for the company. South Mill Champs was a founding member of the AMI/OSHA Alliance, a cooperative effort between OSHA and the regional mushroom industry.
South Mill Champs is a leading vertically integrated compost producer, grower, and supplier of North American-grown fresh mushrooms and functional mushroom foods. Headquartered in Kennett Square, PA, South Mill Champs is a leading innovative and customer-focused supplier. It offers mushrooms and other products with full-service logistics and storage and has a reputation for superior quality and consistent supply.
South Mill Mushrooms of Pennsylvania, Champs Mushrooms of British Columbia, and Loveday Mushroom Farms based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, merged between 2017 and 2020 to form South Mill Champs. Together, South Mill Champs supplies fresh mushrooms and other products to customers in all segments of the mushroom marketplace throughout the United States and Canada.
In November 2020, South Mill Champs expanded its distribution capabilities with the opening of a new distribution center in Winter Haven, Florida. In December 2020, the company acquired The Mushroom Company, a full line mushroom processor located in Maryland. During 2021 and 2022, South Mill Champs established distribution capabilities in Sacramento and Indianapolis and expanded its fresh mushroom production capacity in British Columbia, Manitoba, and Pennsylvania.
SOURCE: South Mill Champs