For a little while now I've been toying around with the idea of starting a mushroom farm, one that is actually capable of making some money at the end of the month. I've been interested in permaculture and horticulture for years now, but never thought of it as something that could be done for profit until a friend mentioned that mushroom producers invest relatively very little and are getting surprisingly high payments per pound of produce (particularly those who grow some species of Pleurotus).
Now, I have located an interesting piece of land near my city (I live in Asturias, Spain). It's around 7.300m2 (a little less than two acres), a beautiful creek crosses it and, perhaps what's most interesting about it, it's currently mostly covered by a forest of chestnut trees, oaks and poplar trees. So I've been thinking: would it be an insane investment to buy it (it's very cheap, it sells for less than 10,000$), and try to start a moderate production of mushrooms on it? Shiitakes, perhaps, and if I decide to go foolproof, Oyster mushrooms in greenhouses scattered among the trees? Does anybody in this forum do something of the sort right now, or has tried to do it in the past? I think that, at least as for distribution channels and potential buyers go, I will surely have a good deal of available market space. In case I decide to go for it, and before I actually invest any money, I plan on literally going store by store, supermarket by supermarket and restaurant by restaurant asking if they would be interested in buying locally-produced, organic and fresh mushrooms. Perhaps I could offer to produce and deliver certain mushrooms species specifically to cater their needs, starting small and serving just a few businesses, then expand in time.
To be honest, I'm excited at the prospect of starting a rentable business at the same time that I respect and protect a forest. But, also to be honest, I'm a 22-year old, senior Philosophy college student, with limited funds. Full of energy and willing to make a living from something else than my degree, something that allows me to pursue Philosophy as a passion and not as a business interest; unwilling to become yet another grey professor begging for a grant, but still, as I say, currently with limited funds. So, in the opinion of the most expert contributors to the forum, is this idea too risky? Of course I know it's risky, but is it too risky, perhaps? What pieces of advice could you offer for a project like this one, and, if you can, for a person like me?
Many thanks for reading! Be sure that I'll appreciate any sort of input that you may provide.
I am no expert in mushrooms, and I don't live in Spain, but I do know that where I am in the US mushrooms seem to always do well, whether at the healthfood stores, restaurants, or local farmers markets. Another option is to dry them and sell them directly to consumers through a website, assuming you or someone you know is good at social media marketing and ad copy. Drying them would be easy and you could build your own solar dehydrator.
I'm excited for you - I think you have a wonderful possibility! I'm sure someone more experienced with mushrooms will give their thoughts.
Good luck on whatever you decide!
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