Successful mushroom farmers select the most profitable varieties of mushrooms for cultivation, ensure proper conditions for optimal growth and find strong distribution channels that ensure product freshness for customers. From shiitake mushrooms to truffles, consumers and chefs want fresh mushrooms to enhance the flavor of their cooking and for the nutritional and health benefits mushrooms contain. As demand rises for gourmet cuisine, the demand for specialized mushrooms grows. Establish your own mushroom farm and make significant profit by growing high-demand mushroom species.
Decide what mushroom species you want to grow. Consider your environment, local and national demand, current prices and current suppliers. Narrow your possible species selection and then view the amount of money and time you would need to invest for each species. Select the species that will make the most money with the least amount of labor. Consider starting your mushroom venture with an easier-to-cultivate variety like oyster or shiitake mushrooms.
Prepare a space where you can grow your mushrooms. As opposed to other types of farming, mushroom farming requires a dark, moist environment with lots of organic waste material. Consider adding mulch to a well-shaded area and adding hardwood logs to create a suitable location for cultivation.
Inoculate hardwood logs with mushroom spawns. Keep the moisture level high in the logs by misting or spraying the logs routinely until you see the log filled with the small mushroom buds. Consider stimulating the mushroom buds by soaking the hardwood logs in water tanks.
Monitor the growth of your mushrooms. If you experience many days without rain, mist the area with water to maintain a higher humidity level.
Harvest your mushrooms individually when they reach peak size and development. Know how the species of mushrooms you are growing are graded for maximum profits. For example, shiitake mushrooms reach their highest grade when they have a small curl on the edge of the cap.
Package your mushrooms with care. Mushrooms are delicate and can easily be damaged, so pack them carefully in containers that will minimize damage.
Sell your mushrooms at local farmer's markets, directly to chefs or to mushroom distributors. Keep track of mushroom prices closely as they frequently fluctuate.