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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 8 languages and is called the MUSHROOM BIBLE: https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2020/08/modern-mushroom-growing-2020-harvesting.html

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Techniques for Harvesting Quality Mushrooms & Gratitude to Mushrooms Canada

With great pleasure we both have always worked in Canada!
This is me, harvesting mushrooms... in Horst, The Netherlands at then HEVECO.
Of course I kept my long hair in a braid, hairstyle is very important for as not to touch the bed surface with it and spreading diseases.
You can actually see me below in a video and also my husband Pieter J.C. Vedder...
Thank you for accepting the challenge of co-speaking at our Technology Transfer Seminar scheduled for April 26, 27/94 at Wellington, Ontario in Canada.
The focus of this Seminar will be, Pre Harvest, Harvest and Post Harvest handling of mushrooms for quality and worker efficiency.
Highline Produce Limited, now Highline Mushrooms click through to read more.
Its founder, Dr. Murray O'Neil was a long time special mushroom related friend.
So this letter got mailed out to the Canadian Growers...
Seventh Technology Transfer Seminar on Pre Harvest, Harvest, and Post Harvest Handling.
Our speakers list includes Dr. R. Beelman from Penn State University, and Mariet Van den Munckhof-Vedder consultant. We have also the privilege of having Pieter Vedder accompanying Mariet and will encourage Peter to be a part of tour panel as well. Dr. Murray O'Neil will be chairing this event, and direct any questions during our discussion periods.
We hope you enjoy your stay at Isaiah Tubbs Resort in the heart of scenic Prince Edward Country click through.
Technology Transfer Seminar #7 Program #2
Techniques for Harvesting Quality Mushrooms
Technology Transfer Seminar # 7
Pieter and Mariet Vedder
Mushroom Consultants
Already on April 13, 2020 husband Pieter did receive a reply to his request for being able to insert a link to videos produced by then Canadian Mushroom Growers' Association click for their FB Page.
WITH GRATITUDE for being allowed to use this video's link!
MUSHROOMS CANADA - produced 24/7/365 click through
Don't you just LOVE their unique SLOGAN?!
Screenshot from 1994 April 26 + 27 Techniques for Harvesting Quality Mushrooms 2 - click for video below:
Watch on YouTube and on your PC screen, for being able to read tekst below video, with clickable spots where certain segments begin. At 1:19:55 the publication we refer to, was by Dr. Jim Sinden, about big transplants being put between small mushrooms.
Also for viewing two video tapes from husband Pieter J.C. Vedder, talking about compost and everything about Mushrooms.
As husband Pieter pointed out in the beginning of this video, that it is not OUR picking technique that we invented. 
Already in the December 1959 issue of the Dutch CHAMPIGNONCULTUUR above article with photo appeared.
Dutch I.T.T., Institute of Horticultural Engineering at Wageningen University System created also a movie.
Based on this ergonomic study, I've always implemented the little details for obtaining optimum efficiency.
We have yet to come across any sensible article underlining the ergonomics.
No wonder we still have such a vast turnover of harvesting people...
Do most mushroom farms provide e.g. a little stool on wheels for sitting on, harvesting the very difficult lowest bed? 
Hip/elbow equal to bed height? Is that being implemented in the construction of a mushroom farm? Considering the area and harvesting work force available in several countries. Not ALL peoples are equal height!
Picking from an armpit height is very hard and tiring...
Screenshot from demonstration towards the end and Dr. Murray O'Neil being one of my first trainees.
Yes, on one of those two days, we also did go into the actual mushroom farm for discussing the Harvest Timing.
There is lots of talk by several self proclaimed 'mushroom gurus' about so-called graze picking.
Sending a crew in several times in a row for picking the largest ones.
First of all, try to grow an as uniform as possible first break. Yes, it is called BREAK and not FLUSH as so many still do. Flushing is a quite different part in crop management of mushroom cultivation.
Most of these 'gurus' point out that a mushroom doubles in weight every 24 hours.
Doubles in size: YES but 'weight' that depends on a LOT OF GROWING FACTORS.
NONE of these gurus is mentioning the importance for keeping the optimum growing condition such, that the pinheads form figure 8 tiny buttons. ONLY a figure 8 shaped button will double in size and retains its quality, and maximum weight.
If growing conditions are not in the optimum, any mushroom, regardless its diameter will start stretching its stem and open prematurely!
Diameter therefore is NOT a good parameter for quality.
The diameter of the stem reveals a lot more about quality, and is thus a far better quality criteria to look at. Hand in hand with 1st quality goes the broad and short stem! 
A thin, lengthening stem is an indication that mushrooms no longer are 1st quality. 
Look at your mushroom picking waste: any long(er) stems attached to the roots? THAT too is product loss and needs to be prevented by better crop management and timely, and correct pruning and picking! 
Does the waste bucket look rather dark from all the casing with mycelium being pulled up? That too is product and quality loss; as with a shallower casing layer you will not be able to harvest mushrooms with optimum weight and quality.
Also most growers are excellent at choking the life out of numerous pins and buttons that are formed already beneath a first break. The second break is right there! IF not watered timely, they will dry out and at the end of the first break harvesters also will have removed part of the second break. Abortion...?! Don't think that is a grower's goal. Nutrients have already been transferred and utilized from the compost into mushroom tissue, why then let it die off, by not opening up in time.
Or by not finishing the first break rooms in time, by harvesting and immediately watering, for the sake of the mushrooms on the bed and the pinheads and buttons forming below!
That so-called graze picking only will interfere and delay such crucial, timely watering.
How good are those gurus themselves at graze picking that lowest bed several times in a row?!
Just talk, when actually not personally having any experience about all factors involved as e.g. ergonomics. Building the most modern facility will NOT solve any of your quality product problems.

Listen to the video as I will address all of these very important aspects except for graze picking as it did not yet exist at that time - thank goodness.

Both, Pieter and I always used our Police type Streamlight Flashlight. I had it hanging from a loop on my belt to the side. It produces pure white light for analyzing pests and diseases etc.
Upon retirement, Pieter gave his to my oldest brother Martin...
I've lost mine somehow, somewhere!
We both treasure this letter from our dear friend Murray O'Neil:
Dear Mariet and Pieter:
I have just received a copy of the very lovely letter that you wrote to John. Thank you so much for this thoughtful post-meeting gesture.
Speaking for all of us I just can't express adequately how much we enjoyed and were helped by your visit. You are both beautiful, natural teachers - a skill possessed of far too few "teachers" generally.
Your comments - very supportive for our crew at Wellington have been a further stimulus and they are certainly filled with enthusiasm about the new methods which you have presented to us.
Pieter, as always you present yourself so well that I could listen to you a hundred times.
Mariet I think one of the high points of the meeting was when you expounded on your personal philosophy with what constitutes the proper way to go through life no matter what occupation one is engaged in.
We are looking forward to seeing you very soon at Vineland and I hope this finds you both in continued enthusiastic good health.
Best Regards,
Murray O'Neil
From the desk of Hank Taylor,
Mariet, Watched the V.C.R. of your presentation in Wellington; Excellent job. You really seemed to be enjoying yourself. Congratulations.
All the best

What a JOY it was to work for this fine group in Canada!

Hope someone has still some benefits from it and don't forget to become a member of this fine MUSHROOMS CANADA organization. They publish the greatest RECIPES as well!
Check out their FB Page, Pinterest and all...

Related link:
modern mushroom growing 2020 harvesting | post about our newest publication


  1. Liebe Mariette,
    herzlichen Dank für deinen schönen Post.
    Alles Liebe

    1. Liebe Elisabeth,
      Immer gerne und froh das du vorbei kamst.
      Liebe Grüße,

  2. No soy para nada entendida del tema. has ofrecido una buena información al respecto.

    Que tenga un buen día.


    1. Querida Antónia,
      Gracias y sí, es un trabajo muy detallado, casi un arte para trabajar con los dedos de la mano izquierda individualmente por NO moretones o dañar este producto delicado.

  3. It was an interesting post, Mariette! On-site experience and ergonomics learned through it are important to improve efficiency, safety, quality, etc. It must have been a great learning opportunity for the attendees at the seminar. The letter from your friend Dr. O'Neil is very lovely. Sounds like it was a really successful event and beneficial for them :-)

    1. Dearest Tamago,
      It was a wonderful experience for both of us to conduct these Technology Transfer Seminars for Mushrooms Canada! Such a video is very valuable to both of us and there are several made with Pieter talking.
      We lost our 'favorite' friend Dr. Murray O'Neil but his memory will live on.

  4. Hello Mariette, It was so nice seeing you and Pieter in the video! You have a lovely and distinguished voice. Yes, many "experts" just copy others without really knowing or doing the job themselves. The trick is to know the real experts, which takes a little research or a recommendation you can trust for a solid reputation. No wonder mushroom growers all over the world have consulted with you and Pieter.

    1. Dearest Jim,
      Thank you for your compliment and wording!
      We both can look with pride back on many years of consulting for numerous mushroom farms and we made as many friends.
      That always has been most valuable to both of us!

  5. Our family is a big fans of mushroom, we love almost every kind of mushroom. I'm so lucky to find you.

    1. Dearest Endah,
      It is like finding a stack in a hay needle, but yes, we really found our Wonosobo, Indonesia connection!

  6. Hello dear Mariette!
    Great post and very interesting video !
    I really enjoyed seeing you and Pieter! Thank you for sharing!
    Have a nice day and a lovely weekend! Stay safe! Hugs!

    1. Dearest Dimi,
      Well this was indeed a nice way for getting to know both of us...
      Hearing once voice is always different from just reading words.
      Thanks for your visit and view!

  7. Was lovely to see yourself and your husband Mariette, tres interesting post, I will look at mushrooms with more appreciation from now on 🍄 Happy weekend ✨

    1. Dearest Grace,
      Thank you for your nice comment here. Yes, it is quite a skilled job for harvesting them unblemished!

  8. How delightful to see you and Pieter live!! I have been mispronouncing your first name and enjoyed listening to your charming accent. Cheers.

    1. Dearest Helen,
      Thank you and it does make a difference from only 'reading' a person!
      My name has been so often mispronounced, here, the late Dr. Ron Pitblado pronounced it well, as it was given to me by my Parents in The Netherlands. But more often it got mutilated into 'muwreet' or whatever. So that's why I changed it.
      Our accents will never go away, we also are poor actors! One never should be ashamed of one's background.


Thanks for your visit and comment.


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