To define what is the best mushroom strain, we must first determine the parameters by which we will compare each mushroom strain with one another. For this purpose, I use what I call MVR which stands for Mushroom Value Rating.

A rating system I borrowed from Curtis Stone and adjusted to the world of mushrooms.

The first factor is days to maturity – short DTM. Why DTM? The faster a mushroom grows, the quicker you can harvest them. Which means the shorter the time, the better. The DTM is heavily influenced by the strain you are using, but also by the substrate, supplements, and your location. As well as other factors.

The second factor is yield. Depending on how you grow your mushrooms, you should standardize how easily you can measure the yield. This is, for example, done by measuring the yield per bag or bottle. But you can also use yield per linear foot if you are growing button mushrooms in long fixed beds.

By doing this, you will get over time an average yield per bag, bottle, or bed. If you then multiply this value with the average price you can sell your mushrooms, you know exactly what the minimum yield for a mushroom species must be to keep it growing. Especially if you know the cost for your operation per bag, bottle, or bed. Which you should if you want to be successful. Here the higher the yield, the better the rating.

Next up, is the price. If you can sell a mushroom at a higher price point than another mushroom than this mushroom would get a higher rating. In the end, if you want to live from what you are doing you need money. The more money you can get per bag or bottle or linear foot, the better you are off.

The fourth factor is the harvest period. What do I mean by that? Think about it this way. Each time you must refill your fruiting room with new bags or bottles, you don’t generate money. Because nothing is growing. This means after the first flush you want another flush, and another and another, and so on. The more flushes a mushroom strain can produce, the better because you just need to maintain and harvest them. The longer the harvest period which means, the more flushes a mushroom species can produce, the better.

But keep in mind while some mushroom species producing many flushes, the yield per flush will get down and or the time between two flushes will increase. It makes, therefore, sense to remove the bags way earlier than the last flush, because the time to produce them is longer then the time for a new bag to grow.

Makes sense?

If, for example, a mushroom species will produce 4 flushes over 180 days and the average yield is 2.5 lbs, then you will get 10 lbs per bag. More importantly, you will get 0.05 pounds per day. On the other hand, if this mushroom species produces for the first two flushes over 40 days an average of 3 lbs, then you will end up with 6 lbs or 0.15 lbs per day.

Which is a factor of 3 higher!

It, therefore, makes no sense at all to keep in this example these bags longer than two flushes in your fruiting room.

The fifth factor is the popularity of the mushroom. To grow something nobody wants makes no sense at all. What your customer wants is something you must figure out on your own as it depends on the region you are living in or where and to whom you want to sell your mushrooms. What is popular in Canada or Germany maybe not sold in India or Brazil and vice versa. The more popular a mushroom is in your region, the higher the rating.

With that said, now it is on you.

Make a list of what you want to grow and rate it according to the five characteristics I just described. If you do this, you will get something like to following list. Then sort the list from the highest to the lowest score. And there you have it. Your list of mushrooms you should be growing to make money.

While in the beginning, this rating is more a starting point of what you should grow than an exact method, with the time you will get a better understanding of how you should rate each mushroom species. But you keep in mind that these factors will change over time. What is popular right now may be less popular in the future or the other way around. More importantly, your way of growing will change. You will get more and more experienced, and with that, you may improve some factors of some mushrooms, and for others, you don’t.

This means that you must check your ratings on a regular basis. This means you should calculate for each mushroom the return (profit) you are getting back from it. After doing this, you might notice that most of your income comes from one or two mushrooms, but you are growing 10 or even more. If this is true, then you should pause for a moment and think about why you are growing them in the first place.

Because in the end, and as mentioned earlier, you want to live off what you are doing. And therefore, you should grow only mushrooms that are bringing you money in. This does not mean that you can’t grow others, but your time and energy are limited. And if you grow too many mushrooms which are bringing almost nothing on the table, you will eventually burn out, and that won’t help you either.

A last note, you should keep in mind that on a small mushroom farm the MVR should be higher than on a larger farm. This means the smaller your farm, the more specialized you must be to make money off it. The positive side effect of being specialized is that you get way faster better at what you are doing, and therefore, you are more likely to get the results you want.

Talk to you in the next video.