Mushroom plant supplied much of the West

Ben Lemphers/For Metro Edmonton


Firefighters keep an eye on smouldering rubble yesterday of the main growing plant at Prairie Mushrooms Ltd.

Western Canada might be in for a temporary mushroom shortage this week after a huge Edmonton-area mushroom plant was destroyed by fire over the weekend.

Investigators are still combing the massive mess trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Don Kostelyk and his brother John own Prairie Mushrooms Ltd. Don estimated damage from the Friday night fire at $10 million. He said 70 workers could be left unemployed.

"That’s just a guess. We have to make a decision this week. We’ve already contacted most of the employees that we can contact, and we’ll be meeting with them individually this week to see what we have to do," Kostelyk said.

The plant, in Strathcona County on Range Road 232 north of the Yellowhead Highway, produced about 100,000 pounds of mushrooms every week, and was the largest of the company’s two plants. Kostelyk explained the other plant is an older facility, which can’t be expanded, but it can produce about 30,000 pounds of mushrooms per week.

Prairie Mushrooms Ltd. supplies mushrooms throughout Alberta, including Edmonton and Calgary, and reaches as far as Vancouver. Kostelyk said there might be a mushroom shortage for about a week, but the company would continue to serve all its customers.

"There’s enough mushrooms in Western Canada that we can find for our customers, and that’s what we’re going to do," Kostelyk said. "We’re trying to fix it as we speak."

There are two other mushroom plants in the province, in Ardrossan and Airdrie. While Kostelyk would like to rebuild what was lost, he said it all depends on the insurance settlement.

business bought

  • George DeRuiter founded Prairie Mushrooms Ltd., but the Kostelyks have been involved with the company since 1967. In 2006, Don and his brother John bought the business.

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