One of the best tips on how to grow mushrooms commercially focuses on using a cultivation process that does not put too much pressure on the grower
Every few days I get an email from someone asking about how to grow mushrooms commercially. These inquiries are almost always from people who are interested in starting a commercial mushroom farm and wondering how to do it.
There are a few key factors to consider before starting a commercial mushroom farm. Often times a passion or interest in mushrooms is the starting point. Others think about what mushrooms can provide to their community, or the world at large. From the beginning I think it is important for aspiring mushroom farmers to have a clear mission in mind.
Why are you getting into commercial cultivation of mushrooms? The answer to this will guide many of your decisions. So, from the start, it is critical to clarify your goals and focus with starting a commercial mushroom farm.
For instance, if your goal is to make $50,000 in a year by growing mushrooms, your process will be different than someone whose goal was to provide medicinal mushrooms to your community, or work with herbalists for making tincture blends.
At Fungi Ally, our mission is to create a world of balance and connection by revealing the world of fungi. Whenever I am looking at a business decision on how to do things, I bring it back to my mission and ask myself if the decision will ultimately be in line with that mission.
How to grow mushrooms commercially: Do not do everything in-house
I see two big advantages to this. It helps to both build a customer base while also building a skill set. This method also allows you to focus on one area of mushroom growing at a time, and then scaling to whatever desired size once the skills are
I see the mushroom industry being divided into a few main areas. There’s spawn production, fruiting block production, and sales of fresh mushrooms. More and more of these micro business are popping up, which takes a lot of pressure off the mushroom growers who are just starting out and do not have the time or resources to do all steps. For instance, a mushroom farmer focusing on selling fresh mushrooms could buy ready-to-fruit blocks to grow their own specialty mushrooms. This way they would not have to make the spawn in addition to fruiting and harvesting the fresh mushrooms.
If you are just starting out, you can work with a block producer to bring blocks into your farm. Then you can spend more time finding steady customers, like ones who are willing to buy hundreds of pounds of fresh mushrooms each week. You can also be developing your fruiting process, including your fruiting room and schedule for fruiting your mushrooms.
Starting in this manner allows you to get a consistent process of fruiting and consistent sales before attempting to take spawn production on internally for making the blocks.
This is a good opportunity for gaining the experience you need in mushroom cultivation and doing so without taking on too much at one time.
How to grow mushrooms commercially: Fruiting and sales
The easiest aspect of mushroom cultivation to dive into is fruiting and sales. This entails creating a favorable environment for mushrooms to fruit, and then growing, harvesting, storing, and selling the mushrooms. Exclusively doing this step is still a lot of work! Especially when starting out, it can be really helpful to focus on dialing in the conditions to fruit the mushrooms.
By observing and working with the mushrooms in the fruiting room, a grower learns how the mushrooms respond to different environmental factors. The grower will learn how to schedule and predict fruitings as well as manage the boom and bust that can happen in mushroom production. This stage is also key in developing a brand and customer base. Many specialty mushroom farms choose to be organic and focus on a higher-end clientele. Having a nice logo and good packaging can really help to create a known brand.
Creating a business focused exclusively on this aspect of specialty mushroom production greatly reduces the infrastructure needed to get started. All that is needed is a walk-in cooler and fruiting room that can be in the basement, barn, or even outside for 3-season growing. For some farms this would mean just setting aside some space in the woods and starting to grow. A grow room and walk-in cooler can easily be built for between $1,000-$5,000, depending on your budget.
In this area there is also the opportunity to focus on and produce value-added products like mushroom body products, extracts, soups, teas, and dried mushrooms. These products are becoming more popular in e-commerce, farmers markets, and stores around the United States. Teaming up with a mushroom farm to produce these or focusing on fruiting and value added production is a great market to explore. There are few farms doing it, lots of growth in the market, and grant monies available to assist in developing and promoting value added products.
Are you interested in bulk ready-to-fruit blocks?
We can offer wholesale rates if you are interested in a minimum purchase of 20 blocks of the same mushroom species. Here is a breakdown of our whole rates:
- 20-50 kits: $20 per kit
- 51-100 kits: $17 per kit
- 101-150 kits: $15 per kit
- 150+ kits: $12 per kit
Bulk orders require notice and prep. Contact our sales team directly to discuss and place your order: 978-844-1811