The knife cuts both ways

A quick way to improve picking efficiency and presentation of the mushroom crop is to pay extra attention to the stem length. The maximum stem length equals half the diameter of the cap, with a maximum of 15 centimetres. If the stems are cut too short, the weight loss can quickly rise to as much as 8 %. This figure has to be subtracted from the total picking performance as the weight represented by the stems has been harvested but then literally thrown away! The bucket holding stumps also fills up quicker which means more time spent walking up and down to empty it. Not forgetting that the total quantity of stumps for disposal will be greater than necessary.

Stem length is also an important consideration in presentation. The upper layer in any container must always be cap upwards, but mushrooms with too short a stem will constantly roll over. A slightly longer stem acts as an anchor the mushroom can be positioned by hand in a single movement and remains in place. This also prevents excess movement during transport contributing to good quality. A longer stem has more advantages than just extra weight – the knife really does cut both ways.

Henk van Gerwen, AdVisie ‘The mushroom cultivation advisors’

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