Some farms raise cattle or sheep, many grow corn, wheat, or even barley, but a growing area of farming is mushroom farming. Mushroom farming is just what it sounds like, a farm that grows edible mushrooms. While these farms can be of almost any size, they are few and far between at the moment. The industry could definitely use a few more farms for these often enjoyed delicacies.
Mushrooms are one of the few year-round crops that can be grown quickly. While some people may only grow a few beds in the basement or a few logs covered in the backyard a local market for these mushrooms can be made profitable. These small growers may not be considered farmers, but the profit is the same. The 300 or so actual mushroom farmers at one time produced over 800 million pounds of mushrooms. This may be a little intimidating to new potential farmers, but the field is wide open for newcomers. So if you do decide to break into the field there are some things you need to know.
How do you start a mushroom farm?
Mushroom farming is just like other farming, it is hard work. It takes knowing what your crop needs and how to make that happen. You can grow Shiitake mushroom logs in a barn or even create entire yards full or what you need. The trick is finding and maintaining the delicate balance needed to keep mushrooms growing and healthy while keeping other microorganisms at bay. One key to mushroom farming is record keeping. While this may seem odd, as new farmers experiment with which mediums work best for which mushrooms in their area, good record keeping can help save wasted time and effort on repeated trial and error mediums. New farmers may prefer wood and straw type mediums which will support some mushroom types, but not others.
If you are willing to take the risk there are a few steps to consider and research. Begin with the spawn and substrate that will create your mushrooms. Next prepare your substrate to create a growing medium. Pack your medium into plastic bags and poke holes in the bag. Place the bags in a shelving unit that is kept at least 78 degrees. Next, create a fruiting room with high humidity levels. Finally, it will be time to harvest. Would you be willing to break into such a farming market?