Shitake mushrooms are a surprising product of the New York Southern Tier. Oak logs in the woods near a shady creek make optimum growing conditions. This offers Southern Tier farmers and woodland owners an opportunity to monetize their land and create a new revenue source. So far, it hasn’t provided a way to retire, but it does offer a solid income stream. A Cornell University study estimates a 500-log operation operating one season a year could generate around $11,000 in income. This could be a great retirement strategy for some landowners.
Culinary trends have put mushrooms in high demand with wholesale prices as high as $16 per pound. (The realistic average is $10 per pound.) Popular mushroom varieties include white button, cremini and portabello. Shitake, oyster and other exotic varieties have a strong consumer demand, keeping prices high for these harder to find varieties. For year-round growing, indoor farms are sprouting up around the state.