KENNETT SQUARE (September 23) – Laurel Valley Soils, a division of mushroom substrate manufacturer Laurel Valley Farms, is the first US Composter of post-harvest mushroom substrate to receive OMRI Listing, and was recently recognized by state Senator Andy Dinniman on this milestone achievement.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment by Laurel Valley Soils, but it did not happen overnight,” Dinniman said. “I want to thank all of the staff and supporters of Laurel Valley, as well as the mushroom growers who had the vision and foresight to band together and form the company back in 1979. The economic and environmental implications of achieving OMRI Listing are enormous and we are just seeing the beginning of that today.”

Senator Dinniman recognizes Laurel Valley Soils with a special Senate citation at the opening of the 31st Mushroom Festival. Pictured (From left to right) Chris Alonzo, President of Pietro Industries and Laurel Valley Farms Owner; Clint Blackwell, President of Laurel Valley Soils and Laurel Valley Farms Owner; Senator Dinniman; Kathi Lafferty, Mushroom Festival Coordinator; Joe DiNorscia, Supervisor at Laurel Valley Soils; and Jake Chalfin, Sales Manager for Laurel Valley Soils.

Senator Dinniman recognizes Laurel Valley Soils with a special Senate citation at the opening of the 31st Mushroom Festival. Pictured (From left to right) Chris Alonzo, President of Pietro Industries and Laurel Valley Farms Owner; Clint Blackwell, President of Laurel Valley Soils and Laurel Valley Farms Owner; Senator Dinniman; Kathi Lafferty, Mushroom Festival Coordinator; Joe DiNorscia, Supervisor at Laurel Valley Soils; and Jake Chalfin, Sales Manager for Laurel Valley Soils.

Laurel Valley Soils, located in Avondale and owned by five local mushroom growers, recently received prestigious Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) Listing for its Premium Compost, allowing its use when growing certified organic food products under the USDA National Organic Program.

 

Laurel Valley’s Premium Compost is derived from steam-treated mushroom substrate. Mushroom substrate is created from a strict recipe containing recycled and locally sourced by-products including cocoa shells, poultry litter, and horse bedding. Once a crop of mushrooms is harvested, Laurel Valley puts the compost through second and final composting cycles so that it is fully composted and stabilized.  This finished compost is then screened and may be blended into a whole menu of products for the horticultural and construction industry, including gardens, bioretention basins, sports fields, lawns and green roofs.

“This is a big day not only for Laurel Valley Soils, but for the industry in general,” says Joe DiNorscia, who has been with the company since 2002.  “Last year, LVS processed 416,000 cubic yards of post-harvest mushroom compost which was then upcycled to grow other plants.  With mushroom demand forecasted to grow by 40% by the year 2020, it is not only responsible to reuse the mushroom substrate, it is a necessity.  Being able to provide our Premium Compost to organic farmers is a win-win for everyone.”

img_4767Achieving OMRI status is a key progression for the tight-knit industry. Mushroom farming in Chester County is primarily done by third and fourth-generation family businesses. Only 68 mushroom farms produced a whopping 63 percent of all the US-grown white mushrooms, for a total of $554.4 million in sales.

Laurel Valley Farms mushroom substrate is already used in growing an estimated 11 percent of mushrooms sold in the United States. Now, their post-harvest mushroom compost can be recycled and reused to grow certified organic crops.

“In many ways, mushroom growers are the original recyclers,” Dinniman said. “And some of the very pioneers in mushroom growing and composting are right here in Chester County. Fortunately, they created the standard by developing environmentally responsible and economically beneficial practices. We are seeing those efforts come to fruition today with companies like Laurel Valley Soils.”

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