From: Profitable Plants Digest
Boom Times For Oyster & Shiitake Mushroom Growers
Worldwide interest and demand for “exotic” mushrooms is growing rapidly, producing an ever-increasing market for both mushrooms and new growers. The most profitable mushrooms grown in the U. S. are oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms, both gourmet culinary mushrooms.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, eighteen million pounds of these tasty mushrooms were grown in the U.S. alone last year. Even better, according to a recent Cornell University study, prices for these two gourmet mushrooms are averaging around $16 per pound, and demand is outstripping supply!
According to Ben Waterman, the Cornell University coordinator for a shiitake mushroom growing project in Vermont, “We could see eight times the current production and still maintain pricing at $16 a pound retail. So there’s a lot of room for new growers to get into this.”
Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms are two of the easiest gourmet mushrooms to grow, and can be produced on a wide variety of “waste” products such as sawdust and straw. They are quick to grow to maturity – typically six to eight weeks from start to harvest. Best of all, you can grow a lot of these mushrooms in a small area.
Using the “grow bag” method, established mushroom growers report yields that average 25 pounds per square foot of growing area yearly. For example, the yield from a 500 square foot grow room would be around 12,000 pounds of mushrooms. You’ll probably sell one-third of your crop at retail prices (currently $16 a pound) and two-thirds at wholesale prices. That’s a solid $128,000.