A new urban-farming startup wants to grow mushrooms in restaurants, for all the diners to see.
Diners flock to Mission Chinese Food in Manhattan’s Lower East Side for the ambience, as much as the innovative twists on Sichuan food. Customers have been known to wait hours for the privilege of eating Kung Pao pastrami amid “Chinese banquet and surrealist” decor, as executive chef Angela Dimayuga describes it.
Designed and built by Smallhold, a Brooklyn-based, certified-organic, “distributed farming” startup, the “Minifarm” has been in the works for months. If all goes according to plan, blue, yellow and pink oysters, king and pioppino mushrooms will replace varieties such as beech, button and enoki in Dimayuga’s beef jerky fried rice. Dimayuga beamed with excitement. “A just-picked mushroom tastes the best.”
Like many entrepreneurs, Smallhold co-founders Andrew Carter and Adam DeMartino speak in superlatives.
“We think this is the future of food distribution,” Carter said. “We see this as a new way to get food to everyone.”
“We can ultimately compete with larger farms,” DeMartino added, “if we do this right.”
Could such methods actually replace traditional agriculture? “Of course not,” Carter said. His company offers “not a replacement, but an addition.”