I have a monster patch of chanterelles. On a good year, I can harvest up to 100 lbs per week. I'm looking for ideas on how to monetize them with a greater margin return than just dehydrating or selling locally.
Preserved in oil?
chanterelle crackers, etc.
any ideas are appreciated.
Typically there are mushroom buyers, that buy from harvesters, you could sell to at wholesale prices. You may need to travel to their location, to sell them in bulk, but they will buy at bulk wholesale prices, which aren't typically the best option if you have the ability to market them yourself. My suggestion to maximize your net gains, would be market to restaurants in more distant towns, maybe with a one time or weekly delivery schedule. Find restaurants that do seasonal menues or seasonal specials to create enough of a weekly market, to be worth the travel to that location. You'll typically get better prices for fresh mushrooms, and restaurants typically are a good customer. My other suggestion would be, check out various farmers markets in any towns you make deliveries to, and see if any farmers market vendors will buy your mushrooms, to bolster the varieties of produce they carry: as sometimes those extra specialty items, increase the sales of their other produce. Once you have established enough sales to make delivery profitable, you can expand on those sales to maximize your travel efforts to that location. Typically there is a big city within a few hours of most locations, and those areas are where I would recomend consolidating your marketing efforts for fresh delivery.
I agree with J. Edwards, develop a relationship with the local chefs, then check with the owners of any Asian markets, if you have a whole foods or similar store nearby, they too would be a good outlet to pursue.
Chefs and Markets will want a reliable source and supply, but you get good returns and don't have to sit at a farmer's market until you have sold out.
Some people would love to learn to grow mushrooms themselves. You could run mushroom growing courses as a way to make more income. Of course if they get very good at it you’ll possibly have new business competitors.