U.S. mushroom giant buys major Manitoba grower

Loveday Mushroom Farms joins South Hill Champs

A major player in the North American mushroom business expects to expand its reach in the U.S. Midwest and Canada’s Prairies with a deal for a storied Winnipeg producer.

South Mill Champs, formed in 2018 from the merger of Philadelphia-area producer South Mill and Aldergrove, B.C.-based Champs Mushrooms, announced Tuesday it has expanded to include Loveday Mushroom Farms.

The merger is expected to allow the combined company to “expand its ability to supply fresh, high quality mushrooms to all major population areas in North America within 48 hours… improve production efficiencies across both companies and broaden its future planned compost and mushroom expansion plans.”

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Also, “the geographic location of Loveday is complementary to our bi-coastal operations and will further enhance our fresh supply chain in the Midwest region of Canada and the United States,” South Mill Champs CEO Lewis Macleod said in the same release.

“The combining of efforts will allow us to expand our capabilities and leverage South Mill Champs’ infrastructure to further support our customers’ growth and ever-increasing demands,” Loveday president Burton Loveday said.

Financial terms of the combination weren’t disclosed in South Mill Champs’ release.

Launched in 1932 as Manitoba Mushroom Growers by then-building contractor Fred Loveday, the Winnipeg company rebranded with the Loveday banner in 1961 and today produces over six million pounds of mushrooms per year.

The company’s output includes white, crimini, oyster, portabella, shiitaki and enoki mushrooms for retail and foodservice customers from Alberta through to northwestern Ontario.

South Mill, which also formed in 1932, said the latest business combination comes “in response to increasing market demand as the health benefits of mushrooms become mainstream.”

The South Mill Champs business yields over 110 million pounds of mushrooms per year and “has experienced significant growth year over year, and distribution continues to expand as retailers and other customers demand high-quality, longer-lasting produce.”

South Mill Champs also includes distribution centres “strategically located in major metropolitan areas across North America,” including Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and New Orleans — a model it says has “changed the way non-regionally produced mushrooms were sold.”

Being able to guarantee “consistent and frequent delivery anywhere in our network within two days of harvest” means “longer shelf life and less ‘shrink’ for our customers,” the company said on its website. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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Dave Bedard

Editor, Daily News, Glacier FarmMedia Network. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.

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