A Co. Armagh mushroom farm – which invested more than £1.5 million (1.68 million) into a new packing house just two years ago – has entered administration.

It’s understood the loss of a key customer contributed to the Collone firm’s problems.

Third generation mushroom growers Jonathan and David McKew hoped the £1.5 million (€1.68 million) investment would allow their business to grow and to be able to supply a wider range of retailers.

It included the investment in six mushroom growing rooms and a high-tech mushroom processing and packing facility.

At one point the firm shipped 98% of its produce to Tesco in Britain via G’s Fresh.

Administrators appointed to

‘From straw bale to shop shelf’

The McKew family had been involved in growing mushrooms and producing mushroom compost for growers throughout the UK and Ireland for more than 40 years.

The brothers took pride in the traceability of their produce, saying they could trace each box from the “straw bale to the shop shelf”.

However, recently the company faced difficult trading conditions – including increased raw material costs and the loss of a key customer.

This resulted in poor trading performance and left the farm with severe cash flow problems, and no longer able to continue trading in its present form. It’s understood around 14 people were employed by Button Farm Mushrooms.

‘Sale opportunities’

Stephen Cave from PwC has been appointed as joint administrator of Button Farm Mushrooms.

He said: “The business has faced a number of adverse factors, which have impacted significantly on its ability to trade profitably and these ultimately led to the directors’ making the difficult decision to appoint administrators.

“Our priority is to work with the directors in assessing the immediate financial and trading position of the business and to communicate with the workforce, key customers and suppliers.

“In parallel, we will be exploring sale opportunities for the business and hope that its modern purpose built facility will attract interest within and beyond the sector.”