Lurgan-based company Annaghmore Mushrooms will unveil its state-of-the-art new premises this Friday as part of a £1 million investment in the business.
With demand for locally produced mushrooms spiralling, the independent family-owned business has recently increased its workforce from six to 16 and is planning to recruit an additional 10 new jobs in the near future.
The County Armagh facility, which was founded by mushroom grower Eamon Murray in 2006, markets and distributes top quality locally grown mushrooms throughout the UK and Ireland.
The mushroom crop range includes brown, button, closed cap, flat and Portobello varieties, grown by a team of specialised growers known collectively as Northway Mushrooms, which are proving popular with consumers who cannot get enough of what is now recognised as a ‘super-food’.
In response to this demand, the company has invested more than £700,000 alongside support from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Invest NI. The spend includes investment in new technologies and quality processes to improve its cold chain supply – the most important element of which is a high tech pack-house which has an advanced cooling system to keep the product fully chilled within an hour of picking.
“This is crucial in maintaining the quality and freshness of the product for longer, resulting in an extended shelf life,” Eamon Murray said.
The mushrooms are sorted, graded, packaged, labelled, chilled and prepared for dispatch from Annaghmore’s new pack-house.
Investment is ongoing according to the Annaghmore Mushroom’s Managing Director, who said: “We are constantly investing in modern, efficient equipment and packaging and are committed to ongoing improvement as we grow our business in response to the increasing demand for our mushrooms.”
The home market is strongest for Annaghmore with 95% of its products being distributed in Britain and Northern Ireland with five per cent supplying retail outlets in the Republic of Ireland.
The business is continually striving for success, though, and has recently been accredited as a member of the British Retail Consortium, which means its standards qualify it for supplying to multiples.
Eamon added: “Having our business audited every year by one of the most demanding organisations in the world, which is recognised as a leading authority on food safety and hygiene standards in the UK, ensures that every aspect of our business is run to the highest standards achievable.”