Why does the substrate matter?
In a field like farming mushrooms where it is possible (at least in part) to literally grow with waste materials and manure, why does your substrate matter?
A few things to look at with the cost of a substrate as you grow and scale your business. If it is a business and not a hobby. (Not that there is a thing wrong with either).
The yield from each flush. Proper nutrients often get people better yields from every single flush. Imagine just 8 ounces (0.3 kg) more yield per bag per flush.
The other thing to consider is the cost of labor. If you spend time driving around town collecting ingredients then more time mixing, and extra prep time there is a cost for that time and effort.
If I am just growing for fun or even a side hustle, then labor expense is likely not even a factor I would track.
If you are running a mushroom farm as a business you should value your time and estimate the labor time and costs. This impacts you, even more, when you hire help too.
Lastly, some farmers who are selling at gourmet prices may want optimum nutrition, so the taste and appearance of their mushrooms are the best possible.
These are the farms that sell their mushrooms for a premium. When you are selling varieties of mushrooms in your area for top dollar. Then it is likely that your time is more valuable than it is when you are just starting out and learning.
IE: We hear people all the time selling a variety of mushrooms for $10 a pound, then someone else sells the same mushroom 1 hour away for $15-20 or more.
Surely your market matters. You may be able to sell more, if your business is closer to 4-5 star restaurant areas, for example.
But the way you present and market your mushrooms also matter.
We see this same pricing issue in all facets of life. Some people charge $5,000 for fewer words than I have written in this blog post. Those people are called copywriters.
So when you think about the quality materials (substrates you choose to grow in) also consider the quality position of your farm and the pricing of your products.
It is often much better to position yourself as a gourmet provider instead of the volume seller in most markets. Consider that with every choice you make for your business.