Orange County mushroom farm closes up shop, laying off over 200 workers

Company officials cited pandemic restrictions, inflation for closure

Shiitake mushrooms (Richard Bord, 2020 Richard Bord)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A major mushroom farm in Florida is set to close for good by next year, leaving over 200 workers without jobs.

In a release, Monterey Mushrooms announced its farm in Zellwood is scheduled to permanently close by January.

The company — headquartered in California — reportedly ships over 200 million pounds of mushrooms annually, making it one of the top mushroom suppliers globally.

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However, pandemic restrictions, resulting inflation, weather impacts and other market changes have prompted Monterey Mushrooms to close down its Zellwood location, the release shows.

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“The company has conducted an exhaustive analysis of its business model and made the difficult, but necessary, decision to reposition itself by closing two mushroom growing locations — Princeton, Illinois, and Orlando, Florida,” the release reads.

The Orange County location was responsible for shipping fresh mushrooms both in Florida and the southeastern U.S., though demand for mushrooms has been softening over the past few years, according to company officials.

They added that production will instead shift to the company’s other seven mushroom farms as the company invests in those locations.

As a result, all 214 of the Florida farm’s workers will be laid off, according to the release. That process will start on Jan. 13, 2024, and continue through the farm’s final closure date, which is expected to be in late January.

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Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined in April 2022.