If you want a fun way to make some extra money, then mushroom farming might be a great solution to consider. It only takes a few weeks to get this venture going, and the work you need to do is minimal to support this venture.
Your operations can be as big or small as you want them to be, but the spatial restrictions of your property will dictate how much you can develop. There are also some additional facts to consider before you start growing.
Overview of the Mushroom Farming Business
Did you know that there are only 307 registered mushroom growers in the United States? Despite the low number of businesses in this sector, about 917 million pounds of product were grown for the year.
That meant the total value of the U.S. mushroom crop was $1.23 billion. Despite the small scale of this business, the median revenues for American growers in 2017-2018 were over $4 million.
The number of active growers has declined by 10% in the past five years, but revenues and profits are rising in this agricultural sector. Now is the perfect time to get involved in this industry if you like the idea of producing high- quality mushrooms.
Steps Needed to Start Commercial Mushroom Farming
Most agriculture-based businesses require a full growing season before it can become a profitable venture. When you begin a mushroom farm, you can start seeing profits in only a few weeks.
There are a few steps that you’ll need to follow to get your commercial mushroom farm up and running.
- Start spawn production with a substrate.
You must have a spawn to start the culture that will begin your production efforts. The easiest way to obtain this need is to purchase an inoculate spawn that you can use immediately. If you have a sterile culture, then you can create one of your own if you prefer. The substrate refers to the wood chips, coffee grounds, or straw that creates the conditions for growth.
- You must prepare your substrate.
If you use a straw product for mushroom farming, then you need to chop it into short pieces. Place it in a large stockpot, and then boil it for about 30 minutes. Then remove it from the water and spread it out so that it can start cooling.
- Pack the straw into plastic grow bags.
You will want to pack about three inches of straw into a plastic bag. Then sprinkle some of the spawn on top of this material. Repeat the process until you’ve almost filled up the container. You will then close the top of the bag, poking a few holes into it to allow for air circulation. Repeat until you’ve used all of your substrates and spawn.
- Incubate your product so that it will start growing.
Incubation requires a temperature of 78°F or 25°C. You will want to place your bags on a shelving unit where no natural light can impact the growing process. Cover any windows or cracks that might contaminate the environment.
You’ll also want to make sure that you replace your light bulbs with darkroom lighting when you need to enter the environment to check on the spawn production.
- Transform the environment into a fruiting room.
Once you see some tiny pinhead mushrooms near the holes in your bag, it is time to encourage the mushroom fruiting process. You’ll need to increase the humidity levels in the room to at least 60%, while the temperature needs to be a couple of degrees cooler (about 70°F) to encourage this cycle. Lots of natural light is necessary for this step. If you need to force the spawn production into this stage, then move the bags into a cooler spot for the day before moving them back to your high humidity room.
You’ll want to cut away the bag when you reach the fruiting stage with your production efforts so that growth can take place.
- Harvest your mushrooms at the correct time.
It is time to harvest your mushrooms when their caps right before the caps entirely uncurl if you grow oyster mushrooms. Button-style mushrooms need to reach a specific size before reaching this stage to maximize profits. Twist the stem off as close to the growing block as possible. Then
A Typical Day as a Mushroom Farmer
A mushroom farm can be a lot of work. You must keep your light levels and temperature constant to produce the best possible results.
You need to check on the temperature of your product repetitively. Then you must ensure the moisture and humidity levels are appropriate for the mushroom variety you choose to grow.
This task also applies to the fruiting room when the mushrooms are ready to begin producing.
It is important to remember that you never touch the mushrooms until they are ready to harvest. You should only be in contact with the product when picking it because you could damage your crop otherwise.
Are You Ready to Become a Mushroom Farmer?
Mushroom farming excels with oyster and shiitake varieties because they are can grow indoors You must have a dedication to the process, but it also doesn’t take up a lot of space. Many part-time growers operate out of their basement.
If you want a fast way to earn an extra income, then try a small scale mushroom farm following these steps. It could be quite a rewarding experience!
FAQ About the Growing Mushrooms Commercially
Oyster and shiitake mushrooms are the most profitable options in the modern mushroom industry. You can sell them for up to $12 per pound at retail and $6 at wholesale.
Oyster mushrooms are the most profitable gourmet product to start growing. It only takes about six weeks to develop them, which means a significant profit is available almost immediately.
Mushroom farms can be profitable almost immediately. You only need a grow room of 100 square feet to make up to $15,000 per year with this small scale opportunity.
You can grow mushrooms from the stems of store-bought mushrooms. It can even produce a profitable crop faster since you’re using the mycelium that’s already on your preferred variety.
You can charge whatever your local market supports. If you go to a farmer’s market in your area with your product, then you could sell oyster and shiitake for at least $10 per pound.