Smallhold Opens First Certified Organic Mushroom Farm in Los Angeles County

LOS ANGELES — Urban mushroom growers Smallhold, pioneers in indoor farming technology, today announced the opening of a 34,000-sq. foot facility in Los Angeles County.

In early May, Smallhold will begin delivering locally grown, USDA-certified organic specialty mushrooms to Southern California. This West Coast expansion, alongside existing farms in Brooklyn and Austin, continues the company’s five-year mission to build a hyper-local solution to a broken global food supply chain.

Smallhold enters the Southern California market, launching in more than 90 stores, including whole foods, Erewhonand Lassen’s. Southern California customers will also be able to order Smallhold mushrooms online through e-commerce players Good Eggs, imperfect foods and others. Acclaimed restaurant Kismetknown for celebrating fresh, vegetable-based Mediterranean-inspired dishes, is officially Smallhold’s first culinary partner in Los Angeles.

“We are delighted with our partnership with Smallhold whose quality value and mission is in line with our stores,” said Edward Palomo, Production Manager at Erewhon. “Smallhold has taken mushroom growing operations to a whole new level by being able to provide us and our customers with the highest quality and unique mushroom varieties available.”

With the opening of this new farm in Vernon, California, less than a mile outside of downtown Los Angeles, Smallhold now operates four commercial farms across the United States for a total footprint of over of 75,000 square feet. Their goal is not just to feed over 2 million people by 2022, but to use mushrooms to change the way people think about their environment, sustainability and biodiversity.

When COVID first took hold of the country in 2020, Smallhold was on the shelf of a single grocery store in Brooklyn, NY. Today, Smallhold can be found in approximately 400 retailers and restaurants, including whole foods, Safeway Albertsons, Central Marketand the best restaurants including Mena, 232, hungry houseand Yaki House in New York as well as Uchi, Comedorand Intero in Austin. This growth has been driven by consumer demand for low-impact, cleaner, better-for-you products that will help our society cope with the impacts of traditional agriculture and climate change.

“This is an important milestone for Smallhold, a company we founded 5 years ago inside a shipping container under the Williamsburg Bridge,” said Andrew Carter, CEO and Co-Founder. “Having grown up in Los Angeles myself, it’s exciting to bring our mushrooms to my environmentally conscious and culinary-focused hometown.”

Increase access, quality and variety of specialty mushrooms

National and regional retail partnerships continue to grow with partners such as Erewhon, Lassens, Good Eggs and Imperfect Foods, as well as an expansion of their existing partnership with Whole Foods Market in their South Pacific region of 60 stores . Smallhold provides increased consumer choice by cultivating more and more varieties of mushrooms, including Organic Lion’s Mane, Blue Oyster, Yellow Oyster, King Oyster, and more. The average case of American mushrooms is dominated by buttons, crimini, and portobellos, ignoring a whole kingdom (literally, mushrooms are a kingdom!) of texture, flavor, and nutrition.

By building hyper-urban farms in key regions and using exclusively compostable cardboard packaging, Smallhold reduces food miles travelled, improves mushroom quality, extends shelf life, while dramatically reducing carbon footprint, food waste and the use of plastic. This evolutionary approach to local organic farming allows a wide range of specialty mushrooms to be grown, harvested and sold in significant quantities directly where consumers live. In comparison, 68% of the mushrooms consumed in the United States are grown and shipped from Pennsylvania. For Shiitake mushrooms, almost all are grown from logs sourced from outside the United States.

As a national brand with a local presence, Smallhold is carving out a new class of opportunity for growing mushrooms. With this latest opening, Smallhold finally connects the coasts with a true national supply chain for specialty mushrooms that preserves shelf life.

“Educating and sparking curiosity about mushrooms is integral to our mission,” said Andrew Carter, CEO and Co-Founder. “We want people to ask themselves where their food comes from, reflect on their diet and reconnect with the planet. That means setting up our mini-farms in unexpected places like The Standard Hotel, or having Smallhold mushrooms on the menu in places like Eleven Madison Park, while simultaneously placing locally grown packaged mushrooms in grocery stores across the country. We want people to have multiple touch points and opportunities to taste delicious, quality mushrooms.”

Commitment to sustainable growth and local agriculture with applied technology

Smallhold’s indoor farms use proprietary systems to create optimal conditions for mushroom growth while ensuring maximum efficiency in the use of water and energy. Their patented system captures hundreds of thousands of data points per day, giving them the ability to mimic natural environments. This results in higher yields, less resource usage and allows them to have a certified organic, hyper-clean and efficient operation. Small mushrooms also grow from the by-products of the wood industry (mainly sawdust), then 100% of the spent substrate is composted or donated.

To date, Smallhold has composted over 2 million pounds of used substrate. Their goal is to compost 8 million pounds by the end of the year. Additionally, the Smallhold Community Compost Program provides free used substrate to the public through partnerships with community growers, hobby mycologists, composting companies, farmers, ranchers, and others seeking to celebrate mushrooms and strengthen the fertility of the soil thanks to the power of the mycelium.

In Los Angeles, Smallhold is part of a groundbreaking mycoremediation field study testing locally adapted and sustainable solutions for brownfields cleanup (AKA brownfields) in LA County. Led by PhD candidate Danielle Stevenson at the University of California and in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, the study has been using Smallhold’s spent substrate blocks since December 2021, monitoring effects at contaminated sites, including a former rail yard, an auto shop, a metal shop, and others. The results of their work could reclaim contaminated land for future sustainable use and prove to have far-reaching ramifications in the field of mycoremediation.

“We hope that the results of these studies will demonstrate the many benefits of integrating fungi into soil remediation and fill knowledge gaps so that these sustainable approaches can be applied at scale and create circular economies around the cleanup of contaminated sites,” said Danielle Stevenson, PhD student in environment. Toxicology at the University of California, Riverside.

In Los Angeles County, Smallhold continues its local hiring practice, always pay above living wage and establish partnerships with not-for-profit organizations and regional groups.

“The City of Vernon is very pleased to help Smallhold expand its specialty mushroom production on the West Coast,” said Vernon City Manager Carlos Fandino. “We are excited to create an environment where businesses like Smallhold can thrive surrounded by a network of agricultural distributors and retail partners, many of whom are based here in Vernon.

Smallhold prioritizes understanding the unique needs of each community in which they operate and listening to what people want to see from their local mushroom farm. This has resulted in remediation programs, educational visits, food donation programs, even artistic collaborations. Local organizations interested in using the substrate for community gardens, mycology education programs, permaculture projects or other partnership opportunities are encouraged to contact [email protected]

About Smallhold

Smallhold’s growing network of organic mushroom farms disrupts the traditional farming model with new technologies and a sophisticated supply chain, increasing access to freshly harvested mushrooms nationwide. Patented technology creates climatic recipes that grow the best mushrooms you’ve ever tasted. And thanks to a unique distributed farming model, the mushrooms are grown absurdly close to the end consumer.

Smallhold is based in Brooklyn, with operations in New York, Austin, Los Angeles and beyond. We operate the only USDA-certified organic commercial mushroom farms in New York and Los Angeles, but it doesn’t stop there. You can watch our mushrooms grow in on-site mini-farms at restaurants, grocery stores, and nonprofits, or even on your own kitchen counter with one of our home grow kits, available on smallhold .com.

Since 2017, small property has established itself as a leader in the production of specialty mushrooms in the United States with products found at top retailers like whole foods, Central Market, Safeway Albertsons, FreshDirect, imperfect foodsand Misfit Market as well as some of the most exciting restaurant cuisines in the country, including Mena, 232, hungry house,and Yaki House in New York as well as Uchi, Comedor,and Intero in Austin. Complete list of resellers here.

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