But all mushrooms are poisonous...aren't they?
What type of mushrooms is good for me?
Who will buy my mushrooms?
What do I need to start?
What happens if problems occur?
Who is behind this project?

Can I really make money by growing mushrooms?

This is the question that anybody who is new to the business will ask. We have asked that very question ourselves. These are the answers we got:

Dr. Otis Carrol, retired professor, growing shiitake in his Boone backyard since 1989, says this:

"I started by reading a book on mushroom growing techniques in the Orient in 1989. Between my wife and myself, we operate this local business as a side business since I became retired. From these logs sitting on less than half an acre by my house we make up to $6,000 every year."

See Otis and his operation yard here

An excerpt from recent letter from Aubrey Raper, President, Carolina Organic Growers, Inc. to us read:

"...I have done a little research on the mushroom producers of whom I spoke (more archive research is being done by our Secretary now) but I do know that the business name was "Carolina Mushrooms" and they were located in Burnsville (Yancey County) and in 1997and 1998 they had mushroom sales through COG of $75,000 each year. The mushrooms were sold to the regular COG customer base, which at that time was mostly fine-dining and two grocers, Weaver Street Market (Triangle) and Earth Fare (Asheville)…"

Paul Stamets, owner of Fungi Perfecti and author of Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms has this to say:

"Many people contact us to ask if they can make money growing gourmet mushrooms. We believe growing gourmet mushrooms can be marginally to highly profitable.... but frankly, everyone's circumstances are so uniquely different it is impossible to generalize…. We strongly encourage anyone interested in commercial mushroom farming to get familiarized with the process of mushroom cultivation, and then start small. After running mini-trials, and doing some test marketing, you should be better prepared to make an informed decision".

And what does our mushroom expert here in North Carolina, Dr. Omon. S. Isikhuemhen has to say?

"Since when I started to come to do research studies in the Mycology laboratory at Duke University in 1996, I have noticed that the mushroom industry does not exist in NC. However, mushrooms are sold in grocery shops across NC. The question is where are those mushrooms coming from? Since they are being sold here and none grown here, it means someone is making money off the state of NC on edible mushrooms. Although some people tried to grow mushrooms in NC, they could not sustain it. This was not because there was no market for it, but mainly due to lack of qualified experts to work with them and a general lack of appropriate technology for commercial mushroom cultivation. Now I am here as an expert that can help put this industry in place. I am here to help you with all my experience in Europe, Japan and other parts of the US. At NC A&T State University, we have the appropriate laboratory to test cultivation technologies, find solutions to your problems in mushroom cultivation, develop home grown technology for cultivation, determine, breed and select local edible and medicinal mushrooms strains for cultivation by farmers in NC. We have extension service component that will train you on commercial mushroom cultivation in whatever way suitable and convenient for you."

We have also done several North Carolina market surveys. Check out the results to see what people in North Carolina think about buying mushrooms. If you still think you are not decided on what you would like to do, please feel free to come to one of our workshops, call us to ask more qustions.


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