Starting a mushroom farm can be as simple as converting your backyard shed. You should start a mushroom farm if you have most of the qualities discussed in this article, like creativity, a love of mushrooms, and an interest in self-sufficiency.
Do you want to farm, but live in a city?
Mushrooms can be grown indoors so you don’t need a field to grow them! You can live anywhere- a city, a small town, or rurally.
Because mushrooms are grown indoors, weather does not affect the crop so you can start any time of year.
Profitable Plants states that 500 square feet is enough to grow 12,000 pounds of mushrooms per year.
Do you enjoy keeping things clean?
Mushroom farms have to be incredibly sterile. If there are any airborne contaminants, the whole crop can be ruined.
Mushroom farms use special HEPA filters to keep pollutants out.
Many mushroom farmers joke that they are actually just janitors. This is because so much of the job includes keeping the growing space sterile.
While most farming is dirty, this might be perfect for you if you’re a neat freak.
Do you love the variety of edible mushrooms available?
To be a mushroom farmer, you have to be excited about mushrooms! As a mushroom farmer you can stick to the basics, or you can go crazy and grow out-of-this-world mushrooms.
Button mushrooms are the most common kind found at the store. Cremini mushrooms are the same kind of mushroom as white and portobello mushrooms, just at a different stage of maturity.
Oyster mushrooms have a mild flavor and delicate texture. They are named after their fan-shaped caps.
Enoki mushrooms can be found in Asian cuisine and look like string.
You can grow all of these and more if you have a passion for the different varieties!
Are you a creative person?
You can grow almost any mushroom under the sun if you get creative.
Although most mushroom farms use manure, it’s possible to grow wood-loving fungi with a little bit of experimentation, including king trumpet, lion’s mane, and chestnut.
Setting up your space requires creativity too if you’re growing from home. Whether it’s a shed, an extra room, or a garage, you’ll have to pull out your thinking cap to make things work.
Do you want extra income?
When you grow mushrooms, you can create a large quantity of mushrooms in a very small space. This makes mushrooms the perfect crop for people who want to farm but do not have access to fields.
Most mushroom farmers sell locally. Once the mushrooms are harvested they are sold at the farmer’s market, grocery stores, food co-ops, and straight to local chefs.
According to a Cornell University study, specialty mushrooms can sell retail for $16 per pound. Oyster mushrooms sell wholesale for around $7 per pound, and other specialty mushrooms have similar prices.
Typically retail sales are done by the quarter-pound or pint, whereas wholesale sales are done by the pound.
Do you only have a small amount of funds available?
Mushroom farms don’t need a lot of money to start up- even just a few hundred dollars. LED’s are great for growing mushrooms and their cost has dropped by 80% in the past few years, according to Profitable Plants.
100 plugs of spores can be bought from Spore Trading Post for only $18.95!
Ongoing expenses only include utility costs, additional spores, and growing material, so overhead is low.
Do you love foraging?
If you love foraging, you will probably love growing your own mushrooms. Foraging shows an appreciation for mushrooms that most people don’t have.
It is common for mushroom farmers to start off as foraging enthusiasts! If you want to learn more about foraging, the North American Mycological Association has guided walks, newsletters, and educational programs.
Do you want to be self-sufficient and contribute to the local food supply?
Growing your own food can be very empowering. It feels good to know that you are able to survive on your own without buying things from stores.
At the same time, the local food market is incredibly important. Not only is it currently trending to buy locally, but it is better for the environment and puts money directly into the hands of your neighbors.
If local food or self sufficiency excites you, then mushroom farming might be a good idea!
Do you love how mushrooms taste?
As with all food, the fresher the food, the better it tastes. If you love mushrooms from the store, imagine how much you will love mushrooms that you grow and harvest yourself!
Mushrooms grown locally are often bigger, taste better, and have more nutrients. Since they haven’t had to travel a long distance or sit on the shelf for a long time, their freshness shines through and you are really able to taste all their complex flavors.
Are you interested in organic farming?
You can grow mushrooms organically! You will have to buy organic mushroom spawn to start.
According to the USDA, an organic mushroom is one that has been certified organic by a USDA NOP accredited certifying agent and is grown in compliance with the USDA NOP Organic Crops Standard.
You won’t be able to use any pesticides and anything you grow your mushrooms out of (mulch, etc) will have to be organic.
Even if you aren’t able to get your mushrooms officially accredited, you can still grow them organically.
Organic food has a huge market right now, and growing organic mushrooms is a niche within a niche!
Do you like challenges and learning new things?
Mushroom farming is quite the challenge! Although there are many books and guides, you are sure to run into some bumps along the way.
You have to enjoy a good challenge in order to be a mushroom farmer. The idea of learning something new every day should excite you.
When you farm mushrooms, your head will be in the books a lot trying to learn as much as you can, and you will always be tinkering with your set-up. If solving problems brings you joy, starting a mushroom farm might just scratch that itch.