Yes, mushroom farming is a profitable and sustainable business that can easily earn you an income of $60,000 annually from a 500 sq ft area. Such an area can produce 12000 pounds of oyster mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms sell from $6 to 8 per pound on wholesale, translating to up to $72,000 per year.
You have the option of selling at retail or wholesale prices. While retail prices are higher, going up to $15 per pound for oyster mushrooms, you may have to stay with the mushrooms for longer and work on your sales strategy and network. For most farmers selling wholesale while creating an allowance for retail buyers works best.
Several factors determine how much profit you can make from growing mushrooms. These include;
● The variety of mushrooms you have grown
● The local demand for that variety of mushrooms
● Availability and cost of raw materials in that area
● Method of cultivation you have adopted
● Accessibility of the farm from the market place
● Your source of spawn. Spawn is the equivalent of seeds for mushrooms.
● The size of the mushroom farm
● Advertising and marketing methods you use
● The length of time you have been in business.
What Are the Most Profitable Mushrooms to Grow?
Mushrooms that are most in-demand are the best to grow. Mushrooms grown to be used for supplements or in the health field are more profitable than those used for culinary purposes. However, culinary mushrooms tend to be easier to cultivate and have a larger and easy to access client base.
Some of the profitable mushrooms include the lion’s mane and maitake. There are exceptions to the above rule regarding the ease of growing culinary mushrooms and their cost. For example, Psilocybe mushrooms, the source of psilocybin, is one of the most expensive mushrooms. It is effortless to grow and bears high yields with low cultivation tech techniques. However, psilocybin is an illegal schedule 1 drug in the USA. This illegal status is what gives the mushroom its expensive status. On the other hand, truffles are difficult to grow though they are a culinary mushroom.
Here are four of the most expensive mushrooms you can grow;
● Morels which sells for $40 for 16oz
● Cordyceps go for $400 for 16 oz.
● Truffles whose 16 oz cost $800
● Psilocybe sold at $1600 for 16 oz.
Even so, shiitakes and oyster mushrooms can still bring in a considerable profit amount considering the little investment input.
What Makes Mushroom Farming Profitable
There are several reasons why growing mushrooms is profitable. First, mushrooms require little investment. You can start a mushroom farm at $1000.
You can do much of the initial labor, and you can easily learn all the information you need. For DIY enthusiasts, this can be a perfect project.
Secondly, mushrooms take a little time to mature. Most mushrooms take about six weeks to be ready for harvesting. The harvest period is also continuous, allowing you to reap more cyclically without preparing and growing new mycelium. In fact, most mushroom farmers can harvest for 35 to 42 days, with some going to 60 days. The initial harvest is usually higher than the subsequent ones.
Another reason why mushrooms are so profitable is their high demand for mushrooms, both for gourmet and health supplements. In 2018, over 1.5 million mushrooms were grown in the US, and the number keeps rising as demand increases. It is a niche segment that is growing, and you will not lack for the market.
Mushrooms are also profitable because they are healthy and delicious, which further drives up their demand. They are high in protein and fiber, have low in calories, and are fat-free. They also have antioxidants and are rich in minerals like calcium and iron.
The other reason why they are profitable is that they can be planted all year round. This is because most of them can be grown indoors. The indoor climate does not affect them, and a suitable space like a shed and garage can be used even in a basement.
Finally, you can also make money from mushroom farming by selling the production residue or substrate after you have become adept and producing it. There are also plenty of value-added mushroom products to help you increase your profits, including mushroom growing kits, pickled mushrooms, mushroom seasoning, and mushroom jerky.
Where to Sell Mushrooms for Profitability
Mushrooms sell best when they are still fresh. For this reason, you are best served by exploiting the local market. You can still sell dried portions and sauces if you want to sell to distant clients. The main targets should be any or all the following;
Farmers’ markets are a hunting ground for people seeking the freshest produce. They are also a place to find items they would not usually find at their local grocery. Such items include mushrooms. They attract big crowds, and all you need is a stall to set up shop. If you lack one, you can always find another trader willing to share space.
You can quickly sell all you harvest if you can identify two or three grocery stores, especially when you are starting. Ideally, you would want a grocery that sells a variety of mushrooms, and the more upscale the grocery, the more likely you are to get a premium price. You can also try out groceries that do not sell mushroom and try to have your stock there to let people be aware you are selling.
Restaurants are a perfect place for your mushrooms. The best way to approach them is to offer free samples, and they will get back to you with the feedback. People love eating fresh local produce and love meals they may not readily get at home.
Food co-ops offer a clientele always looking for healthy and fresh foods. Their members are more open to trying new meals. The way to approach this is the same as the restaurants and grocers through food samples.
You can also build a social media presence and build a website. People can pre-order the mushrooms, and you can also provide free delivery at a price. These are the ones who can also get dried up mushrooms and the value-added products.
Take time to learn and collect information on the various types of mushrooms you may be interested in. Then start on a smaller scale before increasing your crop. Sterilization is crucial to avoid diseases infecting your mushrooms. Mushrooms will not require a lot of care and attention after the crop has sprouted. Their low initial investment also makes this venture easy to enter. Following institutions that come with the mushroom kit and looking to diversification will ensure you earn enough money to scale up your operations and even pursue it as a full-time income source.
FAQs About Mushroom Farming
What does one need to set up a mushroom farm?
Mushroom farming does not need a lot of input. The main material and resources needed are; spawn, substrate, mushroom cultures, poly-tubing or growing bags, equipment for sterilization, blower fan and humidifier, LED lights, hydroponic, or HVAC equipment, and zip ties, among others.
When are mushrooms harvested?
Most mushrooms take about 4-6 to be ready for harvest. You have to first cultivate mycelium, which takes about 3-4 weeks to start sprouting tiny mushrooms. You then get another 1-2 weeks for the mushrooms to grow and mature to be large enough for harvesting.
What is the nutritional value of mushrooms?
Mushrooms have plenty of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Minerals include zinc, potassium, and calcium. The vitamins include Vitamins B1, B2 and C, and niacin. Mushrooms are also rich in fiber and proteins and antioxidants. The
How are mushrooms propagated?
Mushrooms belong to the fungi family, which instead of producing seeds like other plants, use spores instead. The spores are taken and grown on rye grain until the growing mushroom plant colonizes the grain. You will have created a spawn, which is what is used to inculcate a substrate such as hardwood sawdust and wheat straw. When the inoculation is complete, the mushroom spreads and gives forth fruit, which you call mushrooms.
What are the best mushrooms for beginners to start with?
Oyster and shiitake mushrooms are the best types to start with. They are easy to cultivate, and they are well proven in the market. Mushrooms grown for medicinal purposes require most skill to grow and knowledge of their markets for buyers.
Can I Grow Mushrooms in My Area?
Mushrooms can be grown in any area of the country if they are grown indoors. Whether it is a greenhouse, garage, barn, or shed, the indoor environment protects the mushroom from the outside climate. You control the conditions in the area, allowing you to grow mushrooms all year long.
Can I Grow Mushrooms in Compost?
Yes, you can grow mushrooms in the compost, but the threat is an infection, leading to low yields and other problems. It is why experts recommend that you use a sterile internal environment using saw and sawdust. You can also transfer the mushrooms later on after fruiting to the compost, but then the subsequent yields would be lower.