If you want a fun way to make some extra money, mushroom farming might be a great solution to consider. It only takes a few weeks to get this venture going on a small scale, and the ongoing work you need to do is relatively minimal. Your operations can be as big or small as you want, but the spatial restrictions of your property will dictate how much you can develop.

Overview of the Mushroom Farming Business

Did you know that there are only a few hundred registered mushroom growers in the United States? Despite the relatively low number of businesses in this sector, the industry produces more than 700 million pounds of mushrooms per year.

The total annual revenue for mushroom farms in the U.S. alone exceeds $1 billion annually. Now is a great time to get involved in this industry.

Steps to Start a Commercial Mushroom Farm

To start your own mushroom farm business, you’ll first follow a few common steps that most new businesses need to complete. For instance, you’ll need to decide if you want to start a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or other business entity type. You’ll also decide whether to use a business formation service to create your new company. For these steps and others, you can follow our guide to starting a business.

There are also several steps specific to mushroom farm businesses. Many agriculture-based businesses require a full growing season before they can become profitable ventures. However, when you begin a mushroom farm, you can start seeing profits in only a few weeks.

1. Start spawn production with a substrate.

You must have a spawn to start the culture and begin your production efforts. The easiest way to obtain this is to purchase an inoculate spawn that you can use immediately. If you have a sterile culture, then you can create one of your own if you prefer. The substrate refers to the wood chips, coffee grounds, or straw that creates the conditions for growth.

2. Prepare your substrate.

If you use a straw product for mushroom farming, then you need to chop it into short pieces. Place it in a large stockpot, and then boil it for about 30 minutes. Then, remove it from the water and spread it out so that it can start cooling.

3. Pack the straw into plastic grow bags.

Pack about three inches of straw into a plastic bag. Then, sprinkle some of the spawn on top of this material. Repeat the process until you’ve almost filled up the container. You’ll then close the top of the bag, poking a few holes into it to allow for air circulation. Repeat until you’ve used all of your substrates and spawn.

4. Incubate your product.

Incubation requires a temperature of 78°F or 25°C. Place your bags on a shelving unit where no natural light can impact the growing process. Cover any windows or cracks that might contaminate the environment. Replace your light bulbs with darkroom lighting when you need to enter the environment to check on the spawn production.

5. Transform the environment into a fruiting room.

Once you see some tiny pinhead mushrooms near the holes in your bag, it’s time to encourage the mushroom fruiting process. You’ll need to increase the humidity levels in the room to at least 60%, while the temperature needs to be a couple of degrees cooler (about 70°F) to encourage this cycle. Lots of natural light is necessary for this step.

If you need to force the spawn production into this stage, then move the bags into a cooler spot for the day before moving them back to your high-humidity room. Cut away the bag when you reach the fruiting stage with your production efforts so that growth can take place.

6. Harvest your mushrooms at the correct time.

If you grow oyster mushrooms, it’s time to harvest your mushrooms right before the caps entirely uncurl. Button-style mushrooms need to reach a specific size before reaching this stage to maximize profits. Twist the stem off as close to the growing block as possible.

A Typical Day as a Mushroom Farmer

A mushroom farm can be a lot of work. You must keep your light levels and temperature constant to produce the best possible results.

Check the temperature of your product repeatedly. Then, ensure the moisture and humidity levels are appropriate for the mushroom variety you choose to grow.

This task also applies to the fruiting room when the mushrooms are ready to begin production. Remember never to touch the mushrooms until they’re ready to harvest. You should only be in contact with the product when picking it because you could damage your crop.

Are you ready to become a mushroom farmer?

Mushroom farming excels with oyster and shiitake varieties because they can grow indoors. You must have dedication to the process, but it doesn’t have to take up a lot of space.

Many part-time growers operate out of their basements. If you want a fast way to earn some extra income, then try a small-scale mushroom farm following these steps. It could be quite a rewarding experience! If you’re ready to start your journey, we can start your LLC for free (+ state fee), helping keep your startup costs low.

FAQs About Starting a Mushroom Farm

  • Oyster and shiitake mushrooms are often the most profitable options in the modern mushroom industry. You can sell them for up to $12 per pound retail and $6 wholesale.

  • Mushroom farms can become profitable quickly. You only need a grow room of 100 square feet to make up to $15,000 per year with this small-scale opportunity.

  • You can grow mushrooms from the stems of store-bought mushrooms. It can even produce a profitable crop faster since you’re using the mycelium that’s already on your preferred variety.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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