Land in hand, new plant a go

By John L. Braese
The Enterprise
VALE – A Canadian mushroom company has bought land in Vale and is moving ahead with plans to commercially grow and distribute product throughout the western United States.
Farmers Fresh confirmed with the Malheur Enterprise Monday it purchased 117 acres situated on the corner of Frontier Lane and Foothill Drive – land previously owned and farmed by Cindy White.
The property is in the urban growth boundary, but will need to be annexed to the city of Vale for water and sewer services.
Farmers Fresh is wasting no time.
Construction on the first phase is scheduled to start in January.
The company wants to produce the first crop of mushrooms for sale by November 2018.
The company expects to invest $25 to $30 million in the venture. Phase one is expected to employ 150 people with an additional 50 jobs added in phase two.
The Vale City Council was briefed on the project Monday, Sept. 18 and OK’d a plan for the city to issue a letter of approval. The letter will be used by Farmers Fresh to show financiers local support for the project.
“This is a big opportunity for Vale,” said Mayor Mike McLaughlin. “I couldn’t be more happy with the turn of events. We have a long way to go.”
Farmers Fresh is based in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada and sells more than 40 types of mushrooms and mushroom products.
The company is the primary supplier of mushrooms in the western United  States for Sysco, a food distribution corporation.
In addition to supplying mushrooms, the company also resells the compost mushrooms use for growth. After the mushrooms are harvested, the compost is bagged and sold to suppliers like Home Depot for sale as a gardening supplement. Both mushrooms and compost will be produced at the Vale facility.
Have a news tip? Contact reporter John L. Braese at 541-473-3377 or [email protected].