Growing Mushrooms can be a Lucrative, Growing Business

WWLP, July 26th, 2016, by David McKay

It turns out farming fungi can be a lucrative business. That $4 container of mushrooms you buy at the store can take two to four months to produce, depending on the species.

Wholesale buyers from local food retailers and restaurants toured the new facility of Fungi Ally on River Road in Hadley on Tuesday. The event was hosted by CISA, the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.

The farm is only one of a few in the area that produce mushrooms in the region. The process starts with sawdust, wheat bran and gypsum being put into bags. The bags are then sterilized with steam and wheeled into a lab where a drop of mycelium is added. The bag is sealed and sits for a month or two. That’s when mushrooms start to grow and they are moved to a dark moist room where the mushrooms fruit.

Willie Crosby started farming fungi three years ago and is currently tripling his production. “I think a lot of people are surprised at how much goes into producing a mushroom,” he told 22News, “and the level of cleanliness, sterility that is needed for mushroom production; it’s a lot different than being out in a cabbage field.”

Mushrooms are considered the second most labor intensive crop to produce. They are usually picked once a day.