What is the best way to find out if there is a demand for my product?

I want to start a gourmet mushroom business. I plan to sell my mushrooms to local restaurants and farmer's markets. I have done some research and it appears that no one else in my area is growing and selling mushrooms. This is a potentially lucrative business, but I don't want to invest any time or money into it until I know for a fact there is a demand for my product.

Should I call local restaurants and say, "Hello. I am thinking about starting a mushroom farm. Would you be interested in buying my mushrooms? You know, hypothetically speaking?"

That just sounds weird. Any suggestions?
Thanks, GNA! Your answer is very helpful. I plan on growing and cultivating oyster mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms are among the most profitable crops that a person can sell. The downside is that they are very delicate and have a short shelf life. I live in Georgia, and most of the oyster mushrooms are shipped here from Pennsylvania. By the time they get to the stores they are in terrible condition.The oyster mushroom's delicate nature gives local farmers like me an advantage over giant corporations.

Growing and cultivating oyster mushrooms is relatively easy. All you need is a basement and a bucket. Literally anyone can do it. What's more, oyster mushrooms have a rapid production rate. They sprout every 3-4 weeks and once they've been harvested they continue to regenerate in the same spot over and over again.

Growing oyster mushrooms is so easy and profitable, I really don't understand why more people aren't doing it. Maybe other farmers reject the idea of growing mu
...mushrooms because it's such a nontraditional crop. That's the only explanation I can think of. I guess I'll find out soon enough. :)

1 year ago - 1 answers

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You're headed in the right direction by asking restaurant owners questions, but asking if they would be interested in buying yours isn't the right question to ask. What you want to know is -
1. Do they buy fresh mushrooms for their restaurant? Some restaurants import them and some don't use them fresh at all.
2. For those who do use fresh, where are they buying them? There may be a wholesale supplier in the area you don't know about.
3. How long have you been growing mushrooms? If this isn't something you do as an avid gardener, determining if it's a profitable staple to grow is something that you want to find out.

If you want to simply sell to the consumer market, ask a few of the vendors at the farmer's market about your idea. It may be the reason no one else is supplying mushrooms is the local economy doesn't buy enough to make it profitable for the time put into growing and cultivating them.

1 year ago