Touchwood Mushrooms: check out our facility

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

After establishing Western Australia's biggest mushroom farm and running it from 1976-1997, we were keen for a sea change. We left Perth and landed in Denmark, WA in 1997. Soon, we began construction on our purpose built mushroom growing facility. Twenty-three years later, we’re still here, growing and producing some of the best medicinal mushrooms Australia has to offer. Here’s a look at what makes our facility unique.

Starting with sterilisation

As you’ll know if you’ve read our other blogs, this monster is one of the pieces of equipment that we use to keep our products free of contaminants. We use the autoclave to sterilise our substrate (which is the material that the mushrooms are grown in). Also called the growing medium, the substrate is heated to 121C and kept there for five hours. After that, we’re left with contaminant-free substrate, ready to grow organic, spray-free mushrooms.

Class 100 laboratory

When it comes to growing mushrooms, cleanliness is key. That’s why our first priority when we built our medicinal mushroom farm was constructing a Class 100 laboratory. Wondering what that means? Put simply, it’s an environment where the level of contamination by dust particles, vapours and (in our case) mushroom spores is rigidly controlled. In fact, our lab has a HEPA filter, which traps any particles from 0.3 microns in size!

We also control the temperature, humidity and pressure inside the lab. This means that we (the humans) are the only wild card. To offset this, we always wear protective gear when we’re in the lab. Gloves, shoe covers and hair covers not only make us look great — they keep skin, hair particles and germs out of our sterile lab.

Suspended animation

One aspect of mushroom growing that people find particularly mysterious is the cloning process. One way that we maintain the quality of our mushroom crops is by being very choosy about which mushrooms to clone. In fact, we keep a small sample of superior species on ice. That means we can grow an exact replica of a particular beneficial species.

When we clone mushrooms, we do so under a laminar flow hood. This is a unidirectional air flow system that ensures our spores don’t get where they’re not wanted. Long-term exposure to mushroom spores can be harmful to our lungs, so we invested a whole lot into making our lab as safe as possible for everyone.

Colonisation and growing

Once our spores are ready to go, we move them into the colonisation room. This is another place where the conditions matter: we control the temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels to get it right. After 4-12 weeks (depending on the species) we have mushroom spawn.

In the growing rooms, Graham continues to monitor the temperature and moisture to optimise mushroom growth. If all this seems complicated, that’s because it is! Graham has been in the mushroom game for over 40 years, including five years as Director of the Australian Mushroom Growers Association — suffice it to say, he’s got the right experience to get the job done.

Natural beauty

Maybe you don’t think mushrooms are beautiful. But we sure do. All our hard work results in some pretty gorgeous looking mushrooms. And those organic beauties go through an extraction process (which breaks down the cell walls of the mushrooms to access the incredibly beneficial compounds) and are then powdered into the loveliest rainbow of life-giving goodness.

It’s been a hard slog setting up one of the most advanced mushroom growing facilities in Australia, but our beautiful crops and products (as well as great feedback from our customers!) make it worthwhile.

Keen to try medicinal mushrooms for yourself? Explore our products.

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