Top Canadian mushroom grower expands into Western Canada

Photo: CNW Group/Highline Mushrooms

By OrganicBiz staff

Canada’s biggest producer of mushrooms has expanded its reach into Western Canada with the purchase of one of the region’s biggest producers.

Highline Produce announced Thursday it has bought Langley, B.C.-based organic mushroom producer All Seasons Mushrooms.

According to Irish tropical fruit marketing giant Fyffes, which has owned Highline since April, it will pay $59.1 million for all equity in All Seasons and to refinance its debt.

All Seasons grows about 8.6 million kg of mushrooms a year, operating two Vancouver-area facilities, at Abbotsford and Langley, and a third at Crossfield, Alta., about 35 km north of Calgary. It bills itself as the biggest organic mushroom producer in the West.

Leamington, Ont.-based Highline, meanwhile, bills itself as the largest operator in Canada’s mushroom industry, marketing about 26.3 million kg of mushrooms a year, and as the world’s largest grower of organic mushrooms.

Highline operates two plants at Leamington, southeast of Windsor, and one each at nearby Kingsville and at Wellington, Ont., south of Belleville, plus a distribution centre in Montreal. Fyffes described the two mushroom businesses’ geographic reach as “highly complementary.”

Highline and All Seasons, which together employ about 1,400 people, said Thursday their combined nine locations will all remain in operation with “business as usual for employees across Canada.”

Fyffes chairman David McCann said the two companies together will be “well placed to provide Canadian customers with a consistent supply of the highest quality mushrooms from coast to coast, while continuing to strategically supply U.S. customers with premium and organic mushrooms.”

All Seasons’ CEO Frank Moscone, who founded the company in 1997, described Highline as “a natural choice for All Seasons to partner with because we have a shared culture that recognizes the importance of our dedicated employees, customers and suppliers.”

Moscone will remain with the business after the acquisition, Fyffes said.

A Highline representative said Thursday there have been “no changes contemplated” to the branding of All Seasons’ product lines.

All Seasons markets to both the retail and foodservice sectors, with product lines including bulk and pre-packaged white, brown, Crimini and portabella mushrooms and “specialty” lines such as shiitake, oyster and enoki mushrooms.

The company produces on a short growing cycle, which it said allows it to eliminate the use of pesticides and maintain “Certified Organic” status.

Highline also bills itself as using “highly developed cropping techniques” to eliminate the use of pesticides and fungicides from its production of white, mini bella and portabella mushrooms.

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