This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In reply to "Subscriber," in the March number, who complains that in my work, "Gardening for Profit," I omit to say how to "cut," "pack," and "sell" the product of his mushroom bed that my instructions have enabled him to obtain. Though these instructions do not necessarily belong, I think, to such a work, no more than the telling of " how to catch a hare " should be followed by the information of how to cook it, yet I will endeavor to help him. In most cases when mushrooms come up thickly in clumps or clusters, they are best gathered by twisting off carefully, so as not to injure those not yet fit to gather; but when that cannot be done without injury, they may be cut as asparagus, by slipping them off with a knife below the surface. In packing, the same rules apply to them as in anything else, that is, use the size of the package according to the season of the year.
In February or March, a package holding a bushel may be used, while in May or June, when the temperature is higher, the package should not be more than one-fourth, or one-sixth of that size; for the reason that a larger package would then heat. In all cases be sure that the package is filled full, so that its contents will not shake or jolt. About "selling," much will depend upon where " Subscriber " is located. If in the vicinity of any of our large cities, the principal hotels will be the purchasers. There is not yet demand enough for mushrooms in our common markets to command prices high enough to justify their culture, though the prices paid by the first-class hotels and restaurants in New York are such as I believe pay well. A gentleman called on me the other day from Canada, who informed me he had some 10,000 square feet of cellar space, which he had for three years devoted to the forcing of mushrooms and rhubarb, all of which he sold in the New York hotels at remunerative prices. Your correspondent states that he has a small bed. He will find that he will have more difficulty in selling his mushrooms, or anything else, than if he had enough to sustain a regular supply to the purchaser.
All articles of a perishable nature that are products of the garden or greenhouse, we find are always sold to better advantage when the "supply is regular. Our large growers of cut flowers, for example, in the vicinity of New York, who have enough to send in daily to their customers, realize at least one-third more than those who can only send in occasionally; and such as a general thing is equally true of fresh fruits or vegetables.