How can I add value to the oyster mushroom?

There are a number of ways to create secondary products from oyster mushrooms, however, most require some sort of processing. In many places, you can sell fresh mushrooms from your farm with few requirements. When you get into processing them you will be confronted with additional rules and regulations. These often include the requirement to do the processing in an approved commercial kitchen. Be sure to check the requirements before you set off on this adventure.

pink oyster mushrooms

Probably the easiest product is a mushroom kit. You are already making them to produce your mushrooms, so it’s just a matter of making them of a salable size and shape. No processing is required. Thus, you should be able to avoid additional regulations.

mushroom kits

Some growers try selling dried mushrooms. Oysters can be dried easily then rehydrated. The catch is that it is very hard to increase the value this way. It takes about 10 pounds of fresh mushrooms to produce 1 pound of dried mushrooms. To add value you would need to charge 10 times as much per pound for your dried mushrooms as for your fresh mushrooms. That can be difficult to do. Nonetheless, if you have a market that demands dried mushrooms, it may be worth trying. A better approach would be to dry them, powder them and create a seasoning mix using them. This has been successful for some growers.

dry mushrooms

mushroom powder

Other than drying, you can also preserve oyster mushrooms by canning or pickling them. See: Pickled Oyster Mushrooms Recipe This approach greatly increases shelf life so if you are growing seasonally, you can still have mushrooms to sell when fresh mushrooms are not available.

Oyster mushroom jerky is another possibility. See: Recipe: Mushroom Jerky - Philly Some growers use king oyster mushrooms (as in the linked article) and flavor them to taste like bacon. Between the flavor and the shape of the sliced mushrooms, they make a credible non-meat alternative to bacon. See: BrokeAss Gourmet - Mushroom Bacon

Oyster mushrooms also have some medicinal properties and can be dried, packaged and sold into health food markets. For example, oyster mushrooms contain lovastatin, a drug used to reduce cholesterol levels.

Beyond eating the mushrooms, there are always craft ideas. I have a dried oyster mushroom princess that decorates our Christmas tree each year. Once properly dried, oyster mushrooms are quite hard and durable. Apply some creativity to see what kind of product you can create.

The big question on all of these ideas is “do they add value?” As soon as you start making things from your mushrooms, you will add labor, equipment, materials and marketing costs. You will need to pencil out these costs and the potential profit on sales in your chosen market, to see if any of these ideas can make sense for you.

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