Monterey Mushrooms, located on eighty acres on Sadler Road just off Hwy 441 in Zellwood, is the country’s largest and only national marketer of fresh mushrooms. Monterey is vertically integrated and able to control all aspects of mushroom production from seed to customer/consumer. An international, multi-facility company, with 10 mushroom growing farms strategically located throughout North America, Monterey’s mushrooms are literally “locally grown” nationwide. This means that Monterey is uniquely positioned to deliver the best, most innovative mushroom products possible to consumers throughout the country. Their claim to fame, however, is the Portabello Mushroom that was developed approximately 20 years ago at their California facility. This “beefy” overgrown brown baby bella ( proper name, 'Crimini', named for the Crimini family in Italy ) is the answer to a vegetarian’s prayer. Just one portobello will provide close to 400 IU of vitamin D per serving. And, one does not have to worry about scrubbing anything that arrives from this farm. Everyone who enters the doors of the farm, from the truck drivers to the security guards, must wear hair nets and gloves. The workers who sort and pack the mushrooms in the refrigerated growing rooms also wear face masks. The result is that the finished product is not exposed to any elements that might subject it to contamination. It is possible to drive through the gates into the facility to take home a bag right from the farm. And, for the home farmer or gardener, compost is also available at a minimal cost. Nothing is wasted in this environmentally friendly facility, including their dedication to their own re-cycled water.
Tune in channel 22 Comcast or BrightHouse 199 to watch host, Valerie Hart, interview chefs in their kitchens "The Back of the House", or watch it live on your computer at www.lakefronttv.com. Follow her food page on Wednesdays in The Daily Commercial.