Starting and growing a gourmet mushroom business is serious work.
If you want to succeed in selling mushrooms, you need to choose the varieties you want to focus on and create a detailed plan. Just like anything else in life, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Mushroom farming as a grower requires proper business set up and planning.
Start with a growing plan, traditional business plan, and financial budget. You can access a simple one page lean business plan example on this page and download it as a reference. You will want to also create a detailed traditional business plan, but this is helpful to get the mental juices going. When you grow and need financing, you will need to have a solid business and financial plan in place for your farm. There is a reason that 80% of all new businesses fail. The primary reason is poor planning and execution.
The best way to start a small-scale mushroom farm, and grow it into a large operation, is to plan and execute that plan. Your first year as a mushroom farmer will be challenging enough without a plan. Mushroom growers need to increase their profits through improved mushroom production, not simple cost cutting methods. When you increase your yield literally in the pounds of mushrooms produced, you increase your profits. When you offer the finest mushrooms at the local farmer’s markets, you can replace your full-time job income with enough time. As you master the skills of the grow room, you understand the main thing is to provide the highest quality fresh mushrooms. Doing this at a profit is not about cutting corners but making small improvements every day. Changing this challenging but fun hobby into a small business you can be proud of.
Mushroom farmers learn their secret hands on. From their first mushroom to their last, they learn and grow professionally as their mushrooms grow. You can grow your mushroom farm on a large scale if you remember to always seek improvement. Ask yourself these questions regularly.
- How can I improve my substrate?
- What do I need to do to display my products at the farmer’s market or the grocery store?
- Do my mushrooms have a place in the market with other fresh local produce being sold?
- Does the local food market support gourmet mushrooms?
- How can I expand the interest in my oyster, shiitake, or other gourmet mushrooms at the farmer’s market?
- Should I offer free samples?
- How should I promote my mushrooms on Facebook and other social media platforms?
- What way is the best to reach local restaurants?
Then there are the questions you need to ask yourself about your internal operations to improve product quality and increase your yield.
- Have I setup a lab to prevent contamination?
- Am I using the best substrate possible or just trying to go as cheap as I can?
- How does nutrition impact my yield, product quality, appearance, and taste?
- Do I track my processes with detailed measurements and record that data?
- Do I review my data to look for opportunities for improvement?
- Have I evaluated my pricing in the last 6 months?
- What portion of my income am I reinvesting in my business?
- How much is on equipment, tools and production?
- How much of my income and time do I invest in marketing?
- How do I measure my results with marketing?
- What have I done differently this month to sell my mushrooms
Growing mushrooms requires good record keeping and proper farming practices. You must keep a close eye on your
Spawn to prevent contamination during every step of your cultivation. This includes protecting your mushroom spores with proper nutrition and supplements. Preventing contamination by proper methods of inoculation, maintaining proper moisture for the growth of mycelium. Proper humidity in the greenhouse, or more properly, states grow room is critical. So, are air flow and lighting. The varieties you grow will determine the substrate you use. Mushrooms prefer different things for substrates and nutrition. Substrates might contain compost, coffee grounds, or most popular with gourmet mushrooms sawdust. Fungi love high humidity, temperature control, and plenty of air flow. In the United States, one of the most profitable varieties for sale are oyster mushrooms, or shiitake mushrooms. Of the two, the oyster is the easiest to grow for new farms and offers a dependable high yield and price with common best practices.
Use our free Oyster Farm Calculator to determine your first year financials and how many square feet you will need to start your production. Many people skip the basic steps of planning their new mushroom farm business and waste a lot of time. Your investment of time now will pay off a real dividend on that investment in time. Your success at farmers’ markets and with retail sales will only be one part of determining how much profit is possible from your new small business. This will also determine how likely your business is to become a part-time, or even full-time, success.
Be as serious about your planning for your new mushroom farm as you are about anything in life. More so if you want to be a success instead of a statistic.
Take advantage of the free guides, tools, and support you find here at mushroommediaonline.com we are invested in your success.