The first automated mushroom trimmer and grader in the UK has been installed at Waitrose’s mushroom farm at the Leckford Estate in Hampshire which provides a third of its fresh requirements.
After the mushrooms are placed on the conveyor by hand they are mechanically trimmed, graded and weighed.
The mobile processing units are capable of meeting six different specs at the same time. “It means less handling and less bruising. The crop is not touched until it is opened by the customer,” said Mike Ewin, commercial manager.
Made by Axis Systems, the machine is producing 80lb of 250g prepacks an hour with the capacity to increase to 120lb.