Can I Forage Mushrooms For a Living?

How Much Money Can I Make Mushroom Foraging?


Making money mushroom foraging may seem like a quick way to earn some extra cash, but it is far from that. Sure, the mushrooms are free in the woods for the taking, which makes it look like a foolproof endeavor. However, you’ve got to find those mushrooms first. And, harvest them correctly and find a buyer before they deteriorate.


There is definitely money to be made foraging; however, a person must do their research before diving in.


The Top Five Money-Making Mushrooms


These are the highest priced mushrooms in the United States. If you’re lucky, you’ll have some growing in your area. The first thing to do to see if you can make money is to determine if they grow in your region. Or, decide how far you are willing to travel to forage them.


  1. Morels ($30-$90/lb fresh)
  2. Chanterelles ($20-$50/lb fresh)
  3. Chaga ($20-$100, fresh)
  4. Porcini ($30-$50/lb fresh)
  5. Hen of the Woods ($15-$30/lb fresh)

Finding a Buyer

Foraging the mushrooms is one thing. Finding buyers is an entirely different endeavor. There are many options when it comes to selling. Potential places to sell mushrooms include:

  • Restaurants/Chefs, usually high-end ones
  • Farmer’s Markets
  • Specialty Grocery Stores
  • Online Store

Mushrooms are usually sold fresh. However, some sellers will freeze, dehydrate, or freeze-dry the mushrooms to extend shelf-life.

Some sellers create high-end products with the mushrooms and sell those. These include medicines, like tinctures, powders, teas, and extracts. Also, some people make food items, like jerky, pickles, and conserves.


Mushroom foraging is becoming more popular each year, which means the competition is getting fiercer. This is actually a plus and a minus. As foraging becomes more popular, and interest enters the common collective, demand increases too.

Mushrooms are not always predictable. So much depends on weather conditions. A dry year may mean there are no chanterelles at all. An overly wet or cold spring may hinder the morel season. If you are relying on mushrooms for income, Mother Nature will not always be on your side.

The majority of mushrooms, except Chaga and Reishi, deteriorate quickly. Mushrooms are alive, after all. This means you must get them from forest to buyer fast. Many foragers decide to dehydrate or flash-freeze their finds for this reason. It extends shelf-life and creates a viable product that won’t rot over time.

Commercial cultivation is big business nowadays. There are large and small organizations across the country. The most popular mushrooms to grow include oysters, lion’s mane, and shiitake. A forager intending to sell their finds has to compete with these operations.

Last, but certainly not least, you need to find the mushrooms! And, in quantities sufficient for selling. A bowlful of morels is not going to fetch any money. A restaurant will want several pounds, at least. A grocery store will want even more.

The world of mushroom foraging for money is cutthroat in many areas. Research the morel mushroom foraging industry in the Pacific Northwest to learn the lengths some people will go to get the good harvests. Also, the effect it is having on the land and how the states and government are regulating it. Anytime there is money to be made, people act in unprincipled ways. Be prepared.

If you do decide to start mushroom foraging for money, please do not let the dollar signs lead you to destroy habitats or environments. Always forage in a responsible manner. A good forager knows that treating the habitat respectfully will be beneficial in the long run. Future harvests depend on it.