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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. MEMOIRS about husband Pieter Vedder, who was a SCIENTIFIC PIONEER in Mushroom Cultivation Education. His practical handbook is in 9 languages and is called the MUSHROOM BIBLE: https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2020/08/modern-mushroom-growing-2020-harvesting.html

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Visiting A.G. Linfield Mushroom Compost Facility in England

One of the numerous visits to England for husband Pieter J.C. Vedder was as a study for building a Dutch Compost Turner, as they already used in England.
A.G. Linfield Ltd., Chesswood Nurseries (mushrooms) was one of the largest mushroom producers in England.
 Harold Linfield, as well as his wife Cecily are also long time friends!
Beginning with this photo, taken a lot later than the actual visit, but it shows the person the story is about.
Husband Pieter J.C. Vedder to the left, at a B'day party of one of his students who joined Campbell Soup's mushroom business here in the US.
The date was August 25, 1984 and to the right is Jan Thielen from Lottum, The Netherlands.
A long time friend of Pieter and I would say, from both of us, as I knew him since my early years at the Training Centre.
Sadly Mr. Thielen is no longer alive but his son is still running the business.
This photo is taken by husband Pieter in 1962 when they studied how to build such a compost turner.
Actually Jan Thielen did, and thus THILOT was born...
In the photo is from left to right: Ben Ambrosius, Pieter Bels and Jan Veerman from the I.T.T. Wageningen (Technical Institute Wageningen University).
Husband Pieter did publish a booklet for the 25th anniversary of the Dutch C.N.C. from where this photo with under title comes.
During the study visit to a compost company in England in 1962. Seated on a compost turning machine, Mr. Veerman, Bels and Ambrosius are philosophizing about the future.
Jan Thielen is not in the picture but he was walking around, for studying the mechanics etc.
Britain from above: showing A.G. Linfield's Chesswood Nurseries (mushrooms) and the surrounding countryside, Thakeham, 1947. 
In the 1960s England was way ahead in the mushroom growing business but the Dutch caught on and became the world's leading industry.
This is from the 1986 publication: Moving Ahead in Mushroom Growing
The Industrialization of mushroom growing
Jan Thielen and son Ruud are pictured in front of their signature yellow colored equipment.
The BIG difference between England and The Netherlands was, is, that they started growing in shelf beds instead of the wooden trays used in England and also very much in the USA.
That way, things could be mechanized to the fullest and speeding up the labor.
You can enlarge this English text for reading...
Also seen in a 1983 THILOT HOLLAND ←video click on link.
Jan Thielen from Lottum, hence the combination Thi-Lot, was already producing various tools, just like his father did. Pieter got to know Jan from before ending up in the mushroom growing business.
At one time while still being an Assistent at State Horticulture Information Service, Pieter was specialized in asparagus, and Jan had built for him a special seeding machine, that Pieter designed... so he always remembered his long-time friend.
You can view here a short video with such an original 1930s type seeding machine: Zaaien met een Thilotje just click through.
Son Ruud Thielen now is part of GTL Europe Equipment | GTL Europe
Thilot machines have an excellent reputation in the world of composting and mushroom growing. Even after decades of service, many of these instantly recognizable yellow machines still work every day.
Thilot Holland (founded in 1966, Lottum) has developed over the past 50 years into a successful, professional manufacturer of reliable and durable composting and mushroom growing equipment.

Related links: 
Husband Pieter's Fond Relationship with Mushroom Growers in  the U.K. | previous post about Pieter's very first visit to a Mushroom Farm in England


  1. Deaest MAriette,
    it really is wodnerful, that you still have all those memories and you tell us about!
    Thank you!
    Have a happy weekend ahead,
    Lots of Love, Claudia xo

    1. Dearest Claudia,
      It is only natural for any writer, like husband Pieter has been all of his life, to compile his memories towards the end of life!

  2. Liebe Mariette,

    herzlichen Dank und liebe Grüße

    1. Liebe Elisabeth,
      Danke sehr und liebe Grüße deiner Richtung ohne unserem Regen...

  3. Hello Mariette, Your mushroom posts equally emphasize knowledge, hand-work, and mechanization. Pretty soon, all of your readers will be able to go into the mushroom business as experts!

    1. Dearest Jim,
      You had both of us laugh as this is a very complicated and also high tech business. Not easy and that might have been the reason that so many of them left. In Poland, India, the Middle East and China there was an increase, due to labor costs.

  4. Hi Mariette! Really interesting post. we are very interested in a lot of wild mushrooms and their collection. We look forward to much autumn and fungus. Greetings

    1. Dearest Anne,
      Your region will be fine for mushrooms appearing in the wild. In early days they discovered the white button mushrooms growing on horse manure... that's how it started to become a commercial process. You will see more in future posts. We LOVE Boletus, collected in the woods, so tasty. If not fresh, we buy them under the Italian name Porcini for our risotto!

  5. Tom and I toured a mushroom growing business when on a Rotary exchange in Germany. They were using Quonset huts from WWll. to grow them in.Then we were served a mushroom soup. Interesting visit.

    1. Dearest Janey,
      How special was that for both of you!
      The Quonset huts were the fore-runners of the sheds and actually in England they also used WWII Nissen huts. See my post about: SO Happy for Having Met Another WRITING Mushroom Wife in the U.K.

  6. It was interesting to read about industrialization of mushroom growing. It must have been a great experience for you and your husband Pieter to see mushroom growing become more efficient.

    Have a great weekend, Mariette!

    1. Dearest Tamago,
      We both have seen the rise and fall of mushroom cultivation.
      You will see more about the beginning later in some posts but after it became a high tech industry, many were forced out of business by activist groups... SAD!
      Those young people never realize how it affects many people in a negative way... so many jobs lost.
      But for the time we did this, it was a most interesting job!

  7. Dear Mariette,

    Interesting to read about the mushroom growing business and thanks for sharing.
    When I was small my parents grew mushrooms in the dark at the back of the garage and was fun watching the little mushrooms appearing.
    Have a great new week

    1. Dearest Carolyn,
      Guess we all have somehow had an interaction with mushrooms.
      They easily grow in the dark as they have no Chlorophyll, so they cannot transform energy from the sun.

  8. That is an interesting story- I am not a big fan of mushrooms, but I am trying to be because of the health benefits. XOXO
    P.S. You are as beautiful as always.

    1. Dearest Stacy,
      Thank you and for the health benefits we must keep in mind that about 92% is water so we have to eat a lot for getting some benefits 😉
      Thank you for your compliment.


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