Growing EXOTIC & GOURMET MUSHROOMS is especially easy. We cut our teeth on Oysters (pink, pearl, golden and king), Shiitake and Red Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidim). Button mushrooms however are a different story. We recommend growing oyster mushrooms as they are very quick and easy to grow and the market place for suppliers is wide open. The button mushroom market has many large and successful growers, who have already established firm relationships with their customers. Supplying a growing demand for exotic mushrooms (such as oysters and shiitake) in South Africa would be a lot easier than breaking into the button market.
For ‘beginner’ growers, we recommend a bit of basic research – a DVD set by Marc Keith called “Let’s grow mushrooms”, and the book “Growing gourmet and medicinal mushrooms” by Paul Stamets, are both a good start. Or even easier, we have put together a MUSHROOM GROW KIT called The Rookie ‘roomer. It has all you need and includes invaluable detailed and illustrated STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS. All you need to add is approx 10kgs straw, dried grass or sawdust (not pine), and off you go. A cheap way of discovering how easy mushroom growing can be!
Our approach has always been to start by seeing what space, equipment and substrate you have easily available to you.
It needn’t cost a fortune, especially if you plan on supplying your local farmers market or restaurants or even your own family.
From making our own spawn and ‘grow’ logs, fruiting, attending 5am farmers markets and supplying local distributors – we have discovered that you don’t need a large labour force or vast sums of money. There is great satisfaction and excitement in growing your own mushrooms, even if it’s for your own pot.
You do need a passion for growing fungi, an open mind, some ‘out the box’ thinking and a good relationship with your customers.
Having said that, if however you are wanting to go big – there there will need to be a fair amount of capital investment.