In article <1998082723190300.TAA09146 at ladder01.news.aol.com>,
susan112 at aol.com says...
> The mushrooming business sounds great, but I have heard of a downside from a
> guy locally who tried to grow shittake outside on oak logs as a business. He
> said the seasonal nature of the crops nearly did him in as he could not get a
> buyer for just a couple crops a year. The buyers he encountered wanted so much
> a week, every week, guaranteed or no deal.
This may be a real problem if there is no wild mushroom market in your
area. In the PNW, mushroom buyers aggressively comb the woods when
mushrooms are in season, and literally thousands of pickers sell to them.
The annual wild mushroom crop is worth millions of dollars. The USFS
sells commerical picking permits for entry to federal forests, and sets
up special camps just for the pickers.
A happy side effect is that almost all supermarkets will stock several
varieties of mushrooms when they are in season. I have bought oyster
mushrooms, shiitake, chanterelles and morels at Safeway and Albertsons in
addition to the normal agaricus bisporus that is commonly cultivated.
PNW consumers are getting pretty sophisticated about a variety of
> He ended up constructing a building in which he could control tempurature and
> humidity, a very expensive building. Now he has year-long consistent
> production and a viable business. He said that sticking with it and getting
> to that point was very difficult for him and he felt that the people promoting
> shittake failed him by not pointing out the downsides.
If you want to sell to grocery jobbers, you are pretty much stuck going
into industrial production like that. Wild mushroom buyers will take
what you have when you have it. If there is none in your immediate area,
you might think about shipping crates by next-day UPS. Mushrooms are
quite durable, and will take some shipping. There is certainly enough
money in the transaction to make shipping worthwhile. Most wild
mushrooms are exported, and end up in the European or Asian market
> What would be the potential downside of the cottonwood venture for the
> landowner I know who might be interested?
I certainly wouldn't recommend spending big bucks right off the bat. If
he has the cottonwood, and has the time to log cabin bolts, and maybe
enough water to moisten them once in a while, he can grow nice shipments
of pleurotus or shiitake on a seasonal basis. There IS a market out
there. Mushrooms can be surprisingly easy to grow, but industrial
production requires heavy investments in time and facilities. There is
no reason a small outdoor operation can't be profitable almost
immediately with next to no startup investment.