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ABOUT

Rakhra Mushroom Farm in Alamosa, Colorado exemplifies the phrase "where there's a will, there's a way." Mushrooms love low-altitude and high-humidity climates - attributes typically found in mushroom-growing states like Pennsylvania and Texas, not in a little valley tucked in the Colorado Rockies at 7,500 feet above sea level. But since the 1980s, Alamosa has been home to a now-thriving mushroom operation.

The San Luis Valley may not seem like the best place to have a mushroom farm, It's way too dry and normally receives about an inch of rain a year, so an effort to adopt technology that comes from Europe, and find ways to make compost that maximizes the capabilities of the raw materials and better control the process." The air Rakhra injects into the compost elevates the growing area's oxygen level to mimic that of a lower altitude.

In perfecting this system, Rakhra achieved a milestone in 2008 when it reached its highest productivity rates. The company grew six pounds of mushrooms per square foot of growing bed area, which amounts to 15 million pounds annually. It set that number as its benchmark and has maintained it since.

The company also has added to its product lines in 2008. Before, the company produced only white mushrooms. Also known as button mushrooms, these are white or beige with a smooth texture. They are popular in recipes, but Rakhra's customers demanded variety. Portabella and crimini mushrooms were added. There were difficulties in purchasing from other farms, so Rakhra began growing them.

The portabellas and criminis are grown similarly to the white mushrooms, so the company easily integrated the new products. The farm was simply divided into rooms according to type for two reasons. The portabellas and criminis are brown mushrooms that grow better in a slightly warmer temperature than the white mushrooms. Also, mushrooms tend to crossbreed easily.



 

 
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