Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Comparing the Market Viability of Two Methods of Shiitake Mushroom Production (Seasonal vs. Year-Round Production on Logs)

SARE Farmer/Rancher Grant #FNC02-417 – Earnest Bohner, Lampe MO

Objective: To explore the feasibility of expanding an existing shiitake mushroom operation to offer a year-round supply to customers.

Results: We began our farming operation, Persimmon Hill Farm, in 1982 with the planting of two acres of highbush blueberries. Later we added more blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, apples, and shiitake mushrooms. We are primarily a you-pick farm, but we also sell products such as jams, berry-flavored barbecue sauces, butters, biscuit mixes, and other items wholesale to some retailers and do some mail-order sales through

We produce log-grown shiitake mushrooms indoors. About 3,000 logs are inoculated each year; logs can be used for three to four years.

Logs are taken indoors in baskets that contain 60 logs each, soaked in tanks of water in our fruiting building and then placed in racks where they fruit. Then, they’re removed and placed in the “laying yard” until their next fruiting. The water tanks are in the floor of building.

The fruiting building is about 14 feet square and has a hoist that reduces labor while soaking the logs. The fruiting racks have trolleys that allow for easy access for loading and harvest.

In addition to selling mushrooms to retail customers, we have a weekly wholesale route for upscale restaurants and grocery stores in the Springfield and Branson region during our primary harvests in the spring and fall.

The fruiting building has allowed us to expand our production to make our shiitakes available to restaurants year round. By doing so, we’re building our business by promising restaurants a steady supply that they can rely on to feature in their menus.

Our new, larger facility was constructed using well proven energy conservation techniques. It also allowed for more labor-efficient production.

We are producing more usable mushrooms with this new facility, but just as important, we’re better able to control the production pace and quality. Growing mushrooms indoors also reduces waste because it reduces weather related damage.

Our production costs per pound dropped significantly. We also noted mushroom quality was improved through the new fruiting process. When using seasonal production, we could produce during six months of the year; now we can produce year-round. While initial capital expense for the building was significant, our increased profits have recouped those costs.

No comments:

Post a Comment