Types of Mushroom
Categories of Mushrooms on the Market
There are three major categories of mushrooms on the market in the US. First one is Agaricus spp., known as white mushrooms or button mushrooms. 766 million lbs of white mushrooms are produced specifically for the fresh market out of the total annual production of 887 million lbs valued at around $1.04 billion. The secondcategory is cremini mushrooms and portabello mushrooms. These two mushroom varieties are of the same species as white mushrooms, but harvested at later growing stages. In 2012 to 2013, the annual production of cremini and portabello mushrooms are around $228 million. The third category is specialty mushrooms including shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, wood ear, enokitake etc. Specialty mushrooms are fairly new on the US market. In 2012 to 2013, the annual production of specialty mushroom is worth around $65 million compared to $60 million in 2011. More farms are starting to grow specialty mushrooms in green houses in the winter time for better price on the market.
White mushrooms are normally grown on a very large scale, which requires a lot of investment both financially and technologically. Therefore specialty is most suitable in the case of our farm. In 2012-2013, out of 26.2 million lbs of the total production of specialty mushrooms, 22.6 million lbs is certified Organic. According to our market analysis and the general trajectory of market demand, we have selected to organically grow specialty mushrooms, including shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, and mutsutake mushrooms.
As specialty mushrooms become more widely accepted by customers in the US, the production is growing annually. Typical customers include wholesalers, restaurants, and farmers’ markets.
Many farmers lack the technical expertise to start a specialty mushroom farm. The production of specialty mushrooms in the US is lower in yield compared to other countries with longer cultivated history. With the increase in demand and developing expertise in specialty mushrooms, there is very good potential for new facilities. Growing demands resulted in higher prices of specialty mushrooms for the general population to enjoy on a regular bases. On the other hand, China has a longer history as well as more developed knowledge and techniques of cultivating specialty mushrooms. We arenot only planning to introduce more advanced technologies and knowledge of specialty mushrooms from China, but also experiment with more varieties and more growing techniques to optimize yield and quality on the Key Peninsula.