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Quality Mushroom

Quality Mushroom

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We know a few people who grow vegetables in their home gardens.  It is done more as a hobby.  If we go mushrooms in home gardens, it is a hobby and business both.  Here is the story of Trupti Dhakte of Pune explaining how it can be done.  

We listen to these statements about our favourite food: ‘I will eat mango every day if I get one’, ‘I need rice in my daily meals’, ‘I get a headache if I don’t get tea at 7 in the morning’.  We do not, however, see that someone has bought a mango orchard or started a mango business because he likes mango.  Or even we started planting rice because someone likes rice or started a tea stall because someone likes tea.  Trupti Dhakte of Pune, however, started her own mushroom business because of her love for mushrooms.  I became curious to know about her business when I came to know about it.  Her journey as a mushroom producer and seller is not only entertaining but also encouraging for those who want to earn their income.  So, let us understand Truptitai’s Mushroom story.

Truptitai is a science graduate and has received a gold medal in Botany.  She comes from a place near Wardha and has been travelling to places with her husband, due to the nature of her husband’s job, to Aurangabad, Sangli and Pune.  She liked Mushroom, and she was curious about it too.  When she was preparing various dishes from mushrooms, she thought of producing it also.  The thought behind it was to provide good quality mushrooms at a reasonable rate.  She gathered information about it and started experimenting with the production of mushrooms.  Truptitai succeeded after a few experiments.  In the meanwhile, she came to stay in Pune and there she started Mushroom production.    

Mushroom production does not require huge space.  It can be quickly done in-home space.  It is not planted in soil, but straws are used for it.  Straw is produced after the cultivation of wheat, rice, corn and jowar.  A certain amount of water is sprinkled on it for a certain number of days.  A bed of such straw is prepared.  One kilo of straw can make a bed of 3 Kilogram.  The weight increases as the water gets sprayed on it.  Mushroom seeds are then sown in it.               

It is not called a seed, but is called as ……  Mushrooms grow after 25 days.  The bed must be kept in a moist and dark place for the first 18 days out of the 25.  Other plants prepare their food in sunlight.  Mushrooms are a kind of fungus, and so its initial growth cannot take place in daylight.  Dark, moist weather is conducive for its growth.  A lot of care has to be taken during this time as there is a chance of it getting infested by pests.  So, the utmost cleanliness is necessary.  The mushroom bed is shifted to a bright and airy place after 18 days.  This place is called a growing room.

Mushrooms can be plucked after 25 days.  One bed can give a produce of half Kilo to 1 Kilo of Mushroom.

The temperature of the place must be maintained at 22 to 28 degrees for mushroom production.  Mushrooms cannot grow in extreme summer.  Monsoon and winter are favourable seasons for mushroom growth.  The bed can be used again twice once the Mushroom is plucked.  However, before reuse, the bed needs to be watered and kept in a moist place.  A bed becomes unfavourable for production of Mushroom after using it three times.  A new bed has to be prepared.  The old bed can be used to prepare earthworm manure.      

If you have your place and straws from your farm, then the cost for one mushroom bed is only Rs. 20, if the place is rented and straw is also purchased then this cost is Rs. 40 to 50; but if the production is considered, then this cost is negligible.  Good quality mushroom, if sold directly, fetches Rs. 400 per Kilo.  If it is sold through a vegetable seller, you will get Rs. 300 per Kilo.      

Fresh mushrooms have a very small shelf life.  They can last for a day outside and 3 to 4 days in a refrigerator.  Then the mushrooms are dried in bright sunlight, and dry mushrooms are packed and sold.  They are sold for 2500 to 3000 per Kilo.  Dried mushrooms can also be powdered, which has a high demand in the market too.  A grinder is used to grind the mushrooms on a large scale.  If it is in small quantities, a domestic grinder can be used.  Mushrooms are used in many indigenous and non-indigenous recipes.  Mushrooms are in demand from restaurants, hotels and retailers.  It is possible to get a permanent contract if you can tie up with a restaurant.  

Production of mushrooms can vary depending on the space available at your place.  If the place is small, this business can happen with someone’s help; however, the extent of it will be limited.  It is an excellent financial option for those who do not have farms.  This business has a promise of high returns with less hard work and less capital.  It is essential to get a food license, shop act license etc. before you start this business.

3 to 4 staff help Truptitai in her work today.  They produce 20 Kilos of mushrooms every day.  She had to struggle in her initial period to sell the Mushroom.  She used to put a stall in various suburbs of Pune.  She used to keep multiple recipes of mushrooms for sale, like soup, vegetables etc.  People used to taste it, and since they liked the taste, they used to buy mushroom packets.  Since the beginning, Truptitai has given pamphlets of mushroom recipes with mushroom packets.  It is an excellent asset to those trying mushrooms for the first time.  

After settling down in this business, Truptitai started teaching mushroom production through her workshops.  People gave an excellent response to it.  People from various states attended her workshops.  Since the batch size was small, the attendees got specific training.  So, those who participated in the workshops have also started mushroom production.   

Truptitai grows only Oyster, Milky and Dhingri species of mushrooms; but in future, she plans to produce various types of mushrooms.  Out of them, some are used in the kitchen, while some have medicinal qualities.  Mushrooms growing on rice straws have less life, but they fetch a reasonable price.  She has tremendous knowledge of mushrooms.  Her passion for mushrooms is still alive.  There is no doubt that she will always keep on doing research and experiments in this field.  This will help her business to flourish.     

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There are many medicinal benefits of mushrooms.  So, many people purposely use it in their food.  Mushrooms help reduce acidity.  Mushrooms have Vitamin D, iron, calcium, folic acid and other essential proteins and amino acids.  Nutritionists say that a diabetic person should include mushrooms in their meals.

Originally Published in Yashashwi Udyojak. Subscribe Today.

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