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.