Soon Los Angeles shoppers will be able to buy organic, locally grown mushrooms in more than 90 stores. A mushroom farming company called Smallhold is opening a 34,000-foot shroom enterprise in LA County.
It all started in a shipping container under the Williamsburg Bridge five years ago. The Brooklyn-based company has mushroomed from selling its product in a single NY grocery store in 2020 to being on shelves of about 400 retailers and restaurants today. It has farms in Brooklyn, Austin and now Vernon, California, a mile from downtown LA.
“Educating and sparking curiosity about mushrooms is an integral part of our mission,” said Andrew Carter, Smallhold CEO and co-founder. “We want people to ask where their food comes from, think about their diet, and reconnect with the planet. This means installing our minifarms in unexpected places like The Standard Hotel, or having Smallhold mushrooms on the menu at places like Eleven Madison Park—all while concurrently placing locally grown packaged mushrooms in grocery stores across the nation. We want people to have multiple touchpoints and opportunities to taste delicious, quality mushrooms.”
These aren’t just plain old button mushrooms like you find in every Safeway. Smallhold grows more exotic varieties like blue oyster, yellow oyster and lion’s mane. The company builds hyper-local urban farms to decrease food miles and extend shelf life. Packaging is made exclusively from compostable cardboard. Compare that carbon footprint to your average mushroom. Of those consumed in the US, 68% are grown and shipped from Pennsylvania. If you’re buying shiitake mushrooms, it’s even worse—they’re almost exclusively grown on logs outside the US.
LA shoppers can find Smallhold shrooms at Frewhon, Lassen’s and Whole Foods. You can also order them online through Imperfect Foods or Good Eggs. Smallhold has announced that Mediterranean-inspired restaurant Kismet is its first LA culinary partner.
Lead image via Pexels