The most profitable Mushrooms to grow for a small Business

Gourmet and medicinal mushrooms are the most profitable mushrooms for small producers. These include Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, and the various types of Oyster Mushrooms amongst many more. 

Are Mushrooms a Cash Crop?

Is there a “Cash Crop” when it comes to mushroom farming? That’s what many aspiring mushroom cultivators want to know. 

The truth is, not really. Small growers tend to focus on either growing gourmet mushrooms for local consumers or medicinal mushrooms. Each of these can be profitable businesses, but neither gets you rich quick. 

It’s a labor of love and passion. If you are not into mushrooms and just looking to make money, then it’s probably not a good business.

If you do LOVE MUSHROOMS and are endlessly curious about them, then it may be an exciting opportunity. To be successful you will need to be hard-working, motivated, and most of all CREATIVE. You will have failures, hardships, and long hours, but if you don’t give up you will have success.

“You should give up whatever job you have and just quit. Just stop now, and devote the rest of your life to mushrooms.”

Mycologist Gary Lincoff

List of most profitable Mushrooms and Prices in 2022

Prices come from comparing those of various producers in the United States.  It is important to note that the most expensive may not necessarily be the most profitable. For example, Oyster Mushrooms are relatively cheap on this list, but they are also easy to grow. Meanwhile, dried Cordyceps are expensive but require larger investments.

SpeciesCommon NameAvg. Price FreshAvg. Price DriedDifficulty
Hericium erinaceusLion’s Mane$15-20/lbs$75-150/lbsDifficult
Pleurotus eryngiiKing Oyster$10-15/lbs$80-120/lbsEasy
Lentinula edodesShittake$10-15/lbs$70-80/lbsEasy
Grifola frondosaMaitake$15-20/lbs$70-80/lbsMedium
Cordyceps militarisCordyceps$200/lbsDifficult
Pleurotus ostreatusOyster Mushroom$10-15/lbs$70-80/lbsEasy
Auricularia auriculaWood Ear Mushroom$70-80/lbsEasy
Ganoderma lucidumReishi$200-250/lbsMedium
Pholiota adiposaChestnut Mushroom$15-20/lbsMedium
Hypsizygus tessellatusBeech Mushroom$15-20/lbsMedium

Growing Oyster Mushrooms and Gourmet Mushrooms for Profit

There is no doubt a high demand for gourmet edible mushrooms. People want them to cook at home, and high-end restaurants LOVE them. While there is potential in this industry, it does have its challenges.  Below are some tips for those interested in this niche.

Sell to Restaurants

Restaurants pay good money and offer consistent sales. The difficulty is finding your clients and keeping up with the demand.

For finding clients, my best tip is to cold-call as many restaurants as you can. Search for restaurants on Google with these keywords and give them a call.

  • Farm To Table
  • Vegan or Vegetarian
  • Organic
  • New American
  • Gourmet
  • Other keywords that may bring up restaurants interested in mushrooms.

Avoid calling during busy hours like meal times and weekends. Have a pitch ready and try to speak to the head chef if you can. If the chef isn’t in, ask for when they’re available and their name (take good notes!). This way, you can ask for them by name next time you call. If you get through to the chef, your chances increase exponentially!

Farmers Markets

Farmer’s markets have the clients you’re looking for. These are customers interested in high-quality and healthy foods. If you don’t have time or money to invest in a stand, try to make friends with another vendor.  Offer a commission and see if they’ll help you sell your products.

Value-Added Food Products

These can increase the value of your products. Pickled mushrooms, jerky, sauces, precooked food, dried mushroom mixes, and others are options. You may need to rent a commercial kitchen to do this under the health code.

Growing Medicinal Mushrooms for Profit

Growing medicinal mushrooms can be a lucrative endeavor. There are several advantages to focusing on medicinal mushrooms. This includes their high value, long shelf life, and increasing demand.

Some trending Medicinal Mushrooms include:

  • Lion’s Mane
  • Cordyceps
  • Reishi
  • Maitake
  • Turkey Tail

Make added Value Medicinal Products for greater Profits

Processing mushrooms into medicine is one of the best ways to add value to your products. The most common products include tinctures, activated powders, tea mixes, and other extracts. These products have a long shelf-life meaning there’s no rush for getting everything sold at once.

Grow USDA organic or as close as Possible

While you may not be able to get organic certification, being able to offer a clean product is a huge bonus. After all, tons of cheap, questionable medicinal mushrooms come in from abroad. You may convince clients by only using natural substrates and growth environments.

Community Outreach and Creativity

To make profits growing mushrooms, you’re going to have to be creative. Have an amazing logo, presentation, and unique line that sets you apart. Most importantly, get out there and work with your community! Teach workshops, make videos, have a blog, and make content that people will want to see. Also, make sure to attend relevant events and join your local mushroom society. 

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