As beef prices rise, some turn to green mushrooms

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WVLT) – Beef prices are up more than 15% from the same period last year, according to statistics from the United States Bureau of Labor. This has some shift to fleshy mushrooms.

“We can produce a high protein product from waste,” said Andrew Reed. He’s with Mossy Creek Mushrooms.

In Jefferson City and South Knoxville, two mushroom growers grow more with less: a smaller footprint that uses fewer gallons of water, compared to a beef ranch.

“Mushrooms are a fantastic meat substitute,” said Ryan Herrmann. He works at Everything Mushrooms on the south bank of the Tennessee River. You’ll find it near Suttree Landing Park and the Hi-Wire Brewery.

These two companies give a different meaning to “farm to fork”.

“Lower amounts of air conditioning, lower amounts of water we use,” Reed said.

And a big water saver. Monterey Mushrooms, with a large plant in eastern Tennessee, says it takes 660 gallons of water to raise the beef needed for a burger. For a mushroom patty, that would be less than two gallons.

“Extremely minimal. Less than a flower bed, less than tomatoes, ”said Herrmann.

With all this talk on empty grocery store shelves in recent weeks …

“People were trying to do more things than they can do at home that might not be so dependent on the supply chain,” Herrmann said.

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