Mushroom farm-tech is a new technology that is growing with light speed (literally!). Smallhold’s Co-Founder, Andrew Carter, shares how the innovations in the fungi industry are young with lots of potential.
- The origin story of Smallhold and their expansions
- Organic and certified organic mushroom farming
- Innovations in urban agriculture
- Macrofarming vs. mini-farming of mushrooms
- Supply chain and the mushroom industry in the United States
- Why mushrooms are a future food
- Considerations on mushroom-related startups and the possibilities for growth
What is this mysterious glowing box! An aquarium? An art installation? A light show? A display case containing alien specimens? These questions are valid when you encounter Smallhold’s farm-tech. They have a unique system for cultivating mushrooms, and unlike most mushroom farms — this farm-tech is a stunning display.
Meet Andrew Carter a Co-Founder of Smallhold
Today’s guest is the co-founder of Smallhold, Andrew Carter, a farmer, and businessman. Smallhold is a multi-operational mushroom farm implementing innovative logistics and technology to grow mushrooms everywhere. Hailing from Brooklyn and quickly expanding, Smallhold builds futuristic “mini-farms” that can be installed almost anywhere, empowering communities and businesses with a supply of local, quality mushrooms.
Andrew Carter has an extensive background in Environmental Science and Ecological Design. He has been an arborist, has worked with hydroponics and was part of WindowFarms, helped grow the successful greenhouse company BrightFarms, and was a consultant for indoor agriculture. He has also traveled the world learning about innovative ag and is now pioneering the industry for mushroom cultivation in the United States.
We discuss Smallhold’s unique trajectory into the mushroom space and how a history of inventive agriculture fuels the drive and infrastructure of Smallhold. Andrew shares his experience with growing an unconventional startup with nuggets of wisdom for fellow entrepreneurs. We also talk about the ‘shroom boom’ and how mushrooms are “the produce of our times.”
What is Farm-tech?
Another word for agri-tech. This is the use of technology designed to make farming more efficient and profitable. This is a term you usually hear in horticulture and agriculture but is also applied in forestry, aquaculture, viticulture, and, of course, fungiculture.
Farmtech for mushroom cultivation is entrenched in the practice more so than most other food products. Why? Because you’re essentially practicing microbiology. Mushrooms don’t grow from seed, but spore. The differences between these two little packets of potential life are stark.
Spores are microscopic and typically contain only genetic material and little to no nutrients. Seeds typically contain genetics and a nutritious starter pack to help the plant establish robust germination, making them more self-sufficient.
Since fungi need to find food in their germinating phase, they are competing for sugars on a microscopic level with surrounding microbes. And more often than not, fungi will be unsuccessful at propagating in a cacophony of microbial greed. There are more problems too, like other fungi and bacteria throwing detrimental metabolites at the feeble spore.
So to successfully cultivate your target fungus, you need to limit competition and select for proper nutrients and environmental conditions. It’s those needs that make mushroom farm-tech foundational. The farming technology provides optimum conditions in a practically perfect environment for fast-growing yields.
Why Grow Mushrooms?
Our podcast guest, Andrew Carter, has extensive experience in innovative indoor agriculture and farm-tech. As a pioneer and leading visionary for the future of food, he shares the reasons why mushrooms are truly foods of the future. Carter states, “mushrooms just have this amazing effect on people.” So, what are the exact reasons why the mushroom industry will grow in scale over the years?
1. Mushrooms Fit Into Every Fad Diet.
Mushrooms are friendly to nearly all fad diets such as keto, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free, etc. But they do not accommodate for the rare meat-only diets. On the other hand, Mushrooms provide excellent textures and flavors that can mimic meats. King Oyster mushrooms are similar to scallops. Other strains like Lion’s Mane act like beefsteak, tripe, crab, or — as Alex and Lera share in the podcast — even breaded fish. Then there’s always the scrumptious chicken of the woods also known as Laetiporus sulphureus. Other than the occasional mushroom allergy, these interesting fruiting bodies bring plates and diets into a tasty fun-filled experience.
2. Mushrooms Are Dense in Nutrients.
They are a wonderful alternative to meats, both in flavor and nutrition. They offer nutrients like iron, vitamin D, and protein. Many consumers depend on animal sources for such things. Sadly though, meat resources contribute to climate change, so eating a variety of mushrooms instead can help fight that. Fungi have also been revolutionary for faux-meat science, and startups like AtLast are creating facsimiles of meat cuts to satisfy another demand. So, you’re still getting the meat-like experience, but with the mushroom nutriments.
3. Mushrooms Are Visually Pleasing.
The 21st century is a very visual society. Many people consume digital information in the form of photographs and videos daily. So, in essence, beautiful food is increasingly desirable. Mushrooms provide eye candy, unlike any other produce. Their morphologies are unique, curious, colorful, and unconventional. There are some artists such as Phyllis Ma who utilize photography to capture the nature of the mushroom’s shape. This attractive visual quality makes mushrooms more popular to people and fans alike, so more of them get consumed.
4. Mushrooms Create Raving Fans.
Mushroom Revival’s podcast show hosts and Andrew speak lightheartedly and share that unlike lettuce (though we love lettuce), mushrooms incite striking conversations. You don’t hear about broccoli conventions very often, but mushroom festivals happen around the world. Mushrooms just have a way of captivating people beyond being a specialty food item. They tend to draw in more exploration into the kingdom itself and frequently render fanatics (like us!). They are more ancient than our beloved fruits and vegetables, yet so futuristic in their application. We’ve only just begun teaming with fungi, and those who recognize that get very, very excited.
5. Mushrooms Help the Environment.
Additionally, mushroom production is close to being a carbon-negative food. Climate change is real. A huge source of greenhouse gasses that are depleting the ozone layer traces back to large-scale factory farming of animals for meat. To feed the global population and maintain a healthy atmosphere, we need to dial back on meat consumption. Overall, sustainable eating is becoming a huge trend in the food industry, and tracking where your mushrooms come from is easy — especially with Smallhold.
The Future of the Fungi Industry
Andrew shares that a lot more people are getting educated about the fungi industry and about the potential it has to grow large. It’s not just about the food industry though. There are many different avenues people in the mushroom field can take. For example, the beauty, dye, construction, and packaging industries, and so much more. One of fungi’s strengths is that they’re pretty much physically everywhere, so it’s understandable that our fungi friends — and fungi fans — will get into all areas of the marketplace.
Get Into the Mushroom Biz!
If you’re interested in working in the mushroom industry, don’t worry if you have some behind-the-scenes experiences. The fungi field is constantly hiring and looking for people that have a spectrum of experience. In a decade or more, you’re likely to understand a lot about mushrooms in general, which will progress the industry further. Your skills are valuable. Share them!
Owning Your Own Mushroom Biz!
Finally, Andrew shares that starting a new business is exciting, but it does come with its pros and cons. At first, the "beauty of a startup" is seen when experimenting with new ideas. That's when you get a lot of the fun in. But sustaining that initial interest is the challenging part as well as making big decisions all while keeping everyone involved in the venture motivated too.
However, like any business, operating a mushroom biz comes with the same obligations. You have to "make sure people are happy, working both remote or in-person… and making sure people are happy… is really really difficult.” It’s a work-life balance with the field and the mushrooms.
If you don't feel qualified, but you feel called, take a step in and get curious. Alex from Mushroom Revival didn't have a business background, but now he's jumping into investments and working with investors. The business aspect may be the most challenging thing to you, but the reward is owning your own mushroom business and working with mushrooms for possibly the rest of your life. Yay and yum!
So, if you're interested in paying your bills by working in the mushroom industry, get into the network. Andrew Carter humbly offered his contact information in the podcast as he is very responsive to emails for advice and connections. Overall, the goal of the mushroom field is to broaden the horizon. There are many “idea spores” out there in the imagination world that need inoculation. With everyone involved working together — like a mycelial network — we will function optimally.
To learn more about how Smallhold got off the ground, listen to the podcast for great details about Andrew’s venture capital route as well as other ways to start a mushroom business starting at timestamp 43:06.
Finally, if you are interested in purchasing fresh mushroom fruit, growing your own fungi in kits, starting a mini-farm, or working for a mushroom company, visit Smallhold’s website below. By the way, they offer free shipping, nationwide!
Podcast Show Notes & Works Cited
- Smallhold Website: https://www.smallhold.com/
- The Mushroom Will Survive Us - NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/07/style/growing-mushrooms.html
- Phyllis Ma’s Photography: https://phyllisma.com/about
- A Speciality Mushroom Business Grows in Brooklyn: https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-specialty-mushroom-business-grows-in-brooklyn-11599408000
- Mushrooms, The Last Survivors: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/18/t-magazine/mushrooms-fashion-food-art.html?
- I Ordered Two Bags of Dirt, and A Week Later I Had Mushrooms: https://www.bonappetit.com/story/mushroom-farm
- Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake Book Reference: https://www.merlinsheldrake.com/entangled-life
Smallhold’s Farmtech & the Future of Fungi with Andrew Carter
What is going on mushroom family Welcome back to another episode of the mushroom revival podcast. We are bridging the gap between you our futuristic fungal files our mushroom lovers and enthusiasts. And the wonderful, wacky world of mushrooms we bring on experts and guests from all around the world to geek out with us and go on a mushroom journey into this wild vortex of all fungal happenings. So tune in shroom in strapping to another episode of mushroom revival podcast.
And today, we are so pleased to finally welcome Andrew Carter, the co founder of small hold, which is a sensational super futuristic mushroom farm. And we cannot wait to talk to you about your business and how it all came about. Let's start with the origin story. Tell us about yourself and how you ended up in New York and then dedicating your whole life to mushrooms.
Sure, yeah, I mean, it's it's it's a, it's a whirlwind of a story, I guess. I so I grew up in LA in Los Angeles. I studied science and music, I was a big cello player actually, that was like my thing for a really long time. But as far as high school and stuff was concerned, I didn't really care too much about it. But I really liked science. And I essentially was sick of LA and when wanted to go too far as far away as possible. And so I I got into the overseer mode and went over there and ended up being part of a pretty great program, environmental sciences and ecological design. And so it was very heavy, Kevin bio background, but then we got to study with some of the experts of the world and ecological design and bio remediation that was like my big focus. And we I got the experience of working with a guy named dr. john Todd, who is, in my mind a pretty iconic ecologist that figured out essentially how to build these big living systems that can filter out wastewater and figure out different sort of pollutants that are in the environment, I was really into the idea of figuring out how to use ecology to solve human problems, rather than using a bunch of energy and all that that people normally do. And there's when they're trying to deal with wastewater or deal with the oil spill or something like that. And it was an amazing experience. It was actually I think, around the time that that mycelium writing came out too. And so that was like, required reading essentially. And Paul Stamets really started, at least in my community started getting a lot of attention. And, you know, we, when I got out of school I had, I really wanted to start working on that I also like had a lot of experience in GIS. And I was really trying to do get some sort of government work or something like that. But there was absolutely no work and doing that. Because unfortunately, the EPA and the powers that be do not really accept a lot of these, these amazing methods of cleaning the environment. And so I ended up becoming an arborist for a little while with a nonprofit called tree people, amazing group of people planting millions, millions trees throughout LA. And eventually got kind of called to New York, a few different things my dad lived out here and a lot of friends out here. I was pretty young. And so I was just kind of like I'm sick of La again. And so let's go out to New York. And I, I got the opportunity to work on a few different projects that were focusing on hydroponics. And so my background allowed me to kind of understand how to use technology to grow different plants, essentially. And this is back in 2010 is when I moved to New York, and there was a lot of this attention. I think, especially because we were back in like 2011 2012 there was when we had the the other economic, you know, collapse, essentially, there was the same sort of thing that happened with COVID, where a lot of people started growing at home and there was a lot of concern around where food comes from. The story is actually very similar to what was happening before. And a bunch of different projects popped up. I worked on a thing called the water pod, which was a barge that we lived on and we grew our own food and we filter on water with plants sort of like this system that I was Talking about that went into a job with a group called window farms, we were one of the first Kickstarters that essentially made hydroponic units out of water bottles. And we, we've scoured New York City for Poland spring water bottles, and figured out how to install these hydroponic systems all over the city. That got me a job with a company called bright farms, which is now a pretty large greenhouse company. And after that, my father actually passed away and I had to go and leave that, that job to kind of deal with some family stuff. But I have enough experience to get to become a consultant, essentially in indoor Ag and mainly hydroponics. At this point, I didn't have any real mushroom experience. But I did have a lot of sort of controlled environment experience. And so after that, I ended up consulting with a group called agro texture. I was the essentially a senior consultant that does a lot of the science stuff. Regarding plants, I do your pest management, the labor management, configure your automation, all that kind of stuff. It got to travel the world visiting a bunch of different greenhouses and vertical farms, it was one of the coolest things I've probably ever done. I got to visit farms in the Netherlands and South Korea. I actually got to go to Wuhan in 2016 2015. To go and try to build a vertical farm for Foxconn. I think we're past our NDA so I can talk about it. They didn't do it. But it was pretty insane. Not only visiting Foxconn, but also visiting visiting Wuhan. And anyway, I got to expose to a lot of indoor environments. And the thing with indoor AG, in my opinion is that they're, you know, there's a lot of different aspects to it that at that point, I thought had a crossover to mushrooms. And I made that mistake, which I think a lot of people make is you're like, Oh, I can grow plants really well, I can grow mushrooms really well. And so back in 2016, I got really intrigued by the idea of starting my own business, met up with my friend Adam, who's our co founder, Adam demartino. And we got our hands on a shipping container and planted in Williamsburg and started growing mushrooms in there. The story for that is kind of funny, like I mentioned that I played cello. The I ended up playing cello through this whole entire period of my life and had a couple YouTube videos where I covered different songs. And someone asked me, randomly emailed me and I don't get any emails like this. Like, it's not like I get like tons of comments on YouTube or anything like that. But someone asked me to play a Daft Punk song at the Reddit and in Red Hook. And I thought that was really funny. And I didn't know really what to charge them. And so I talked to so much my friends and they're just like, Oh, just give some random number that like if they said yes, then you can, you can't go up turn away from it. And so I charged him a few 1000 bucks, like not expecting him to pay for it. And they jumped on it. And that was the first money in our company. And we went turned around and mushroom container and then built a mushroom farm it. And that took a really long time to build like it was in 2016. We made a bunch of mistakes. We tried tiling it out because it was really beautiful. I don't know if you've seen photos of it is really cool kind of system visually. But it was not the most efficient way of building a mushroom farm. And I was still working at the time, sort of funding it like by by paycheck by paycheck essentially just like buying going to Home Depot and buying different things. But then it was in 2000 at the end of 2016 that Adam and I were just like, Look, there's a lot of interest in this, let's just quit our jobs and start a company. And so to January 2017, we got our hands on a free space in Bushwick and started building these units that we now have in a bunch of restaurants and grocery stores. And started conceptualizing the larger idea of small hold, which is essentially the farm everywhere. You know, we we think that there's an opportunity with all types of produce, but mainly with mushrooms and specialty mushrooms that by growing up close to the consumer and close to where people eat, then you know we can provide a really amazing experience and a superior experience, which will you know, allow more people to enjoy mushrooms and enjoy our products rather than trying to ship them across the planet or across the country. So I'll stop there. I'm sure you have a lot of questions. We can we can dig into any of that a lot to unpack.
Well I just want to say I didn't know you're like my my brother from another mother. I like studied bio remediation. I studied hydroponics and obviously mushrooms like all these similarities were crazy. Yeah. Why small holes? I'm just curious. I mean, it's a great name. I'm just, you know, is there any significance behind behind that name?
There's a lot. Yeah, there's a lot of significance behind the name. The so the term small holder or smallholding is not, in my opinion, not very common in the United States, but it's a really common term around the rest of the planet. And it's honestly how most food is produced. In a way, it depends on how you really want to define it. But how we how I define small a small holding or a small holder is one who has their own life, they have their own job, they have a small plot that they grow for you their sustenance and maybe sell some to like a beer or a neighbor or something like that. It's very communal. The original idea of smallholders actually solely to do that we wanted to work with farms that were, let's say, growing tomatoes, and say, Hey, like install some of our units on site will provide substrate will automate the whole entire thing for you, it's a good price that you can charge a markup on and then sell your for local farmers market or something like that. We still have a lot of potential customers like that. But when we started doing that, we found that a lot of other people wanted it like restaurants and grocery stores. And people were completely like reimagining the experience of shopping. And we found that there was a much broader market for what we were building, which is essentially installing it everywhere. We are still extremely excited about that idea aspect of the business. And in a way it still kind of works like that. But we you know that that was originally where that where that term came from. And it's and it's kind of interesting, because we find a lot of people use the term smallholders, which is, which is kind of like a butchering of the actual, you know, term that the people are usually referencing. But yeah, I mean, that's, that was the that was the original idea that we we came up with.
I love it. It's encompassing more than just mushroom farming, which I wouldn't have predicted. So that's awesome. I am impressed with your extensive experience in innovative agriculture. Seems like you've done a little bit of everything.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I honestly like I, I kind of it's, I found myself pretty lucky and like, the right place at the right time with the right experience, which is dude, a lot of things. But like I was in New York, when there was no hydroponic people there. Like, you know, I, when I worked with no farms, or a berry farms, maybe maybe the founders are listening to this right now, I had no business being that grower there, but they were excited, because there was no one else. And honestly, I feel that way about a lot of mushroom stuff. Now, you know, it's like, you know, and we can kind of get into that later. But like, you know, we're always kind of hiring people. And people seem kind of worried about telling us that they have some sort of like, you know, garage thing or growing under their bed or something like that. But a lot of that is actually like very valid experience. And those are the kinds of people that you're going to be listening to in 10 or 20 or 30 years about, you know, the future of the mushroom industry.
I believe if you can grow mushrooms, low tech, without a flow hood, and a pressure cooker and all that, like you really understand what's going on. It's it's definitely a marker of expertise.
I would say, when you were talking, I was thinking of like a job interview of someone who has a background of like growing magic mushrooms. And, you know, the, the beating around the bush of hat you have not really wanting to say but like, I have a lot of experience, but I can't really tell you what that experience is.
And if you were able to do it in a moldy apartment in Brooklyn, like that's saying something.
Oh, I just Yeah, I've seen some pretty innovative thing. I mean, just like the water bottles, I mean, there's so many innovative ways to grow, especially low tech ways. And and also on the flip side, high tech ways that now we're I think bringing into agriculture, of realizing how much labor goes into agriculture is unbelievable. And then the pay doesn't really make up for the amount of hours and like, destruction on your body. I mean, mushroom farming, I've heard is the second most labor intensive crop behind strawberries. And I've heard that, you know, some people might fact check that and say a different story. But regardless, mushroom farming is hard. I mean, any farming is hard. It's a lot of work. And, you know, any way that we can make that better. I mean, we invented the plow just for that and over since we invented agriculture, you know, we constantly be coming up with ways to make it easier on our bodies. And not just like break ourselves trying to, you know, replicate food on planet Earth. And so I've heard a lot of people be really against, you know, autonomous farming. And they're like, wow, that that's like, the devil that you know. And like that. I need food that I grew with my own hands and things like that. But then there's the flip side of like, Well, we've been using a plow, we've been using all these tools like a hoe and a spade or whatever. That's not our hands were they're just tools. And as we progress in society, we had, we had more advanced tools. So I'm just curious on what your perspective on autonomous farming and like, Is there a point for you, that's too much. And you're like, Oh, that's a little little too much. And I or you're like, let's go 100% autonomous farming?
I mean, well, so Okay, so I love the idea of well, because you're because your hands are definitely a tool, but also like your methods, right? So it's like, people didn't know, you know how to do half of the things that we do now. And you can look up a YouTube video and how to culture a plant. I mean, like, seriously, like, That is crazy knowledge that people can just do pretty simply now with the few things that they buy on the internet. But as far as automation is concerned, I think that it's like kind of whatever is right for the business. And the and the location, I don't think anything with agriculture is like a blanket solution. And so I get in this conversation a lot, especially with the hydroponic stuff, like people are like, oh, like, hydroponic farm isn't going to feed the world, which I totally agree with. I've never said that my life, a lot of people say that. There's like, news stuff, all that kind of stuff, where they're like, this is how you're going to eat in 20 years. And maybe that's how you'll eat a basil plant, but not a corn plant, or rice, or whey or whatever, what most people eat all the time. It would be cool if there's innovations in those spaces, but they're not all the same. I mean, agriculture is just gigantic. You know, it's like, there's so many different ways of doing everything. I think that certain businesses make sense to automate the whole entire thing. Like if you're in a weird place, where either labor is not accessible, or labor's too expensive to provide a product that makes sense to the customer. So it's not only like, the bottom line of the business, it's like, if it just doesn't make sense, literally, for someone to buy your product versus importing thing, then, hey, maybe automation actually makes sense for that kind of space. But on the flip side, I don't think that it's going to replace people growing at home, or like, you know, growing tomatoes in their garden, like that is what everyone should experience at one point in their life, because there's no way that agriculture will ever actually do that, you know, a commercial app, no matter how on.
Yes, yeah. Even if 99.9% of agriculture is fully autonomous, I still think people should have victory gardens in their backyard and have that experience or even a window sill like, if you're in New York City, just a little basil plant, just that experience, you know, maybe it doesn't amount to, to a lot of food or whatever you're growing, but that experience to be connected with the plant or the mushroom, or whatever you're growing. And that it's it's empowering. And it's it's cool to connect with nature. And as society is growing, and we have what is so many billions of people to feed. There's, like you said, sometimes it makes sense. But yeah, I think, you know, no one should take away the fact that people should grow their own food.
Yeah. I mean, like anyone, that what I love about experiencing food, which is sort of like, what we try to do with our mini farms, and we do with other aspects of our business is like, if you a lot of people downplay what experience does to your, like, your perception of food and your taste, and all that kind of stuff. And, you know, if you go to a farmers market, and you go and buy a head of lettuce from that farmer, and they tell you a story about it, there's actually like a chemical thing going on in your brain that makes that taste better. And a lot of people are like, oh, whatever, it's just a story. But like that story actually mean, it actually like changes a lot chemically, what's going on in your body, like how you're actually perceiving it. And so, I think that like growing it at home or touching things or talking to people about food or learning and all of that will lead to help you lead a better life and lead a healthier life, because you will perceive that food in a different way. It's kind of like kind of like a Peter Pan I guess.
We definitely have to shout out Phyllis Ma for making the mushrooms extra sexy. Photography is so stunning. Yeah. She's incredible.
Yeah. her Instagram is is @specialnothing if anyone wants to check out her work it Yeah, it's it just puts it on the spotlight of how out of this world mushrooms are. And everything. I mean, she photographs a bunch of stuff. But yeah.
She has a story highlight of her going to Chinatown in New York and just finding all of these really obscure mushrooms and they're hilariously translated into English. It is probably one of my favorite things I've ever seen on Instagram. So everyone's got to check it out.
Yeah, she is amazing. That has been really good friend of smallholders since the beginning.
That's a brilliant segue. Because, you know, a lot of the pictures of small hold are in the front windows of, you know, a sushi restaurant or whatever it is. And you see these cool crazy blue pink lighting and people walking down the street are like what in the hell is that alien box was this kind of the the inspiration of creating stories and creating this experience, along with mushrooms.
I mean, these the the mini farms were a response to a need, which we found was the need was people wanted people to they wanted fresh product, they want it as fresh as possible. We live in New York, which isn't that far from Kennett, you know from Pennsylvania. And But still, the quality of product that was coming from Pennsylvania to New York wasn't the quality that a lot of these meet these restaurant owners and grocery stores wanted. And so we found that by using the nooks and crannies of people's spaces, and by really developing a way where it's like relatively automated, we can provide the service or we can grow a lot of mushrooms on site with that, and then you make it really cool. Initially, it was behind it was like in someone's basement, the first one we did at bunker get enemies. But then after that mission Chinese wanted to put in front of everyone. And that's essentially what everyone asked for. And, yeah, I mean, the the main goal was always grow enough where it makes sense, we didn't want this to be some sort of like visual thing, which is what a lot of people do, you know, it's like, you know, we were like, We want to grow at least 30 pounds per week on site, which is usually the demand of these operations, we grow a lot more on some other ones. But, you know, despite it being cool, and getting all the press and stuff, we just wanted to actually like impact their bottom line and be like, Okay, this makes sense financially, which was the coolest test in the world where you know, what these businesses are, like evaluating what kind of innovations they want to keep, or what kind of innovations they want to lose. Usually, they kept small, like, we didn't really have any churn until you know, COVID sort of hit and we've sort of decided on which ones to keep servicing. But it feeds into the larger idea which is really growing everywhere. And as close as possible to the consumer. We found that there are some grocery stores that can fit in mini farm. We're installing those still all over the place. But we also found that there's a lot of places that can't fit on a farm but they still want our mushrooms and they want them grown as close as possible. And so we ended up building the we call them macro farms, but their larger facilities using a lot of the technology we developed to grow these mushrooms as close as possible to consumer and those are packed and those are you know available by their their half pound packs a little more than sort of what your what your standard mushroom pack would be. But that's kind of what we're trying to pull off here.
Yeah, I love this idea. And right back to what you said about witnessing the mushrooms grow. You really learn something about that produce. And I bet most people see the small mini farm and don't even know what it is especially something like Lion's Mane I think oysters a lot more iconic and you can assume it's a mushroom but if you have little experience in it or you just know the portobellos and then you see like lion's mane and that's it you are just is this an art installation, like what's going on? It looks bizarre. So many people don't really know the journey that a lot of their produce takes to get to you. There are some bizarre ways that things grow like pineapples. When I found out how they were grown, blew my mind. Same thing with are they grown? Well, you can take the top the spiky tops and put them in the ground and a pineapple will grow like inside of that. And cranberries was bizarre when I learned about cranberry. Oh yeah. And then peanuts. They come out of the ground and then they like dive back in the There's just surprises on in so many areas of your pantry and your refrigerator. And yeah, mushrooms are not alone.
Agriculture is just so funny because there's so many, like, there's so many people are so passionate about it, and people want to learn so much. But it's so hard to learn everything. And I think there's this like, I met someone who wants to is like a historian of science to found like a really cool background to be where, you know, science changes, like the people's understanding of things changes over time. And I feel like sustainability and transportation and supply chain, the same sort of thing has happened. I know we're probably going to talk a little bit about packaging and all this stuff, but I care a lot about that. And I was doing a lot of research and you know, it's like plastic packaging was a sustainability innovation. Like that was their thing. You know, like the hothouse cucumber wrapped in plastic, that whole thing, those cucumbers would last like a day out of the greenhouse if it wasn't for that plastic wrap. And they were like, Okay, we got to fix this. And so let's wrap it in plastic. And it's a very like, well, like nice, 80s 90s kind of mentality, I guess to wrap it in plastic and not worry about the consequences. But it made sense at the time, because they're like food waste is the biggest issue. And so let's solve this. And then now we're looking back and we're like, oh, hey, maybe like growing the things that need to be grown locally, and changing people's diets and doing all those kinds of things may allow us to have less plastic but it's pretty it's it's, it's insane. You know, like how you know how people want they want to learn a lot about stuff, but they might not actually know where, like, why the decisions were made to get them to where where they are now, if that makes sense.
And you were ambitious to start this in New York, my friend Nick Pesesky, he is good friends with him at the time. And I was in New York a lot teaching for Genspace. And he let me tour your macro farm or part of it. I saw your office, which was so swanky and had like a great view. It's fun. And then showed me a few many farms throughout the city. And Weren't you guys the first organic technically like certified organic farm in New York City?
Farm like letter Id like for all produce.
Yeah. certified organic. I mean, this is the thing with all certifications and everything. Like there are organic growers out there, like and even there's, there's better ways to grind than organic event. And we try to follow advanced protocol that is even better than the minimums, obviously. But yeah, that went through the whole process got certified. Pretty sure we're the only one that has ever done it in New York City. Which is wild, because there is a lot of agriculture in the city. And there has been historically and so we didn't know that when we were doing it. It was kind of like a lot of a lot of the protocol that we have. We have other certifications and everything. Like we kind of built the company trying to be that which I think is usually like, it's usually the concern that I've had with other firms is trying to change your operation to fit in to the structure that is the organic.
Oh, and I'm sure they had to build some of that structure. Because mushroom farming is I mean, for us, especially with cordyceps I mean it's its way it was way different than any other mushroom. And our organic certifiers were like like mushrooms mushrooms period where we're very very new. And then cordyceps was just like a different way different type of mushroom and they they had such a hard time wrapping their head around like what it was and how to grow. There was a lot of education and then tinctures and they're like what the hell is a tincture and like you know, a lot of brand new things and to be the first certified organic farm and then have a mushroom farm on top of that. I'm sure they there was a lot of head scratching in the office for your certifiers.
Totally, yeah, I mean well, because we all worked on it but Hannah Hannah shoe for is our director operations. She was like the first person we hired actually. And she's still with us and amazing and she she really sort of spearheaded that whole entire thing. And so like, couldn't have done it without without Hannah. But But yeah, there was a lot education and it's funny because they latch on to like, they latch on to funny things. You know, it's like, I'm like, personally with all types of produce. I'm like, forget about pesticides, that's the only thing I'm really freaked out about. And, you know, like, we don't use any but like there are ones that you can use and all this kind of stuff, you know, which is kind of odd to me. But then they were really concerned about they're concerned about any chemicals that we use, but then they were mainly concerned about the substrate and whether or not we were using like cottonseed oils, because that is sometimes GMO. And so they're like, that was the that was a really like the main thing It was like, kind of hard to dig into that whole entire part of the process with them and explain that, because then you have to really get into the technical aspects about it. But, you know, I assume it's with I mean, I've encountered a lot with hydroponic stuff, it's like, it's a, it's a big, it's a big talking point right now, whether hydroponics can be certified organic or not. And you did turns into this really like education thing. And this, this whole, you know, it's, it seems like a case by case basis at this point, for a lot of those facilities.
So how many macro farms do you have? And can you share plans on your expansion of what you kind of dream to grow into?
Yeah, I mean, so we just built our first macro, while we built our first macro farm in Brooklyn, that we launched in September. And so the place that you went before was our offices, and we had a warehouse and all this kind of stuff. But that that just got launched. And then we built our Austin, one in October. And we are planning on expanding on those locations, because we have a lot of demand, which is great. And then expanding to a bunch of new regions. And so the idea is that we can build these sort of near metropolitan areas, it doesn't have to be in the middle of the city, it can be a little bit out there. But we're centralizing sort of part of our supply chain, our experience, all of the data is going to one place and so we can share a lot of the staff. So then we can have kind of a core team and each location that's pretty efficient, and growing a really amazing product for those customers. But we have some pretty ambitious plans, like new city this year. Definitely. And then hopefully a lot more in the years to come.
Cool. Yeah, I'm taking a guess and saying that might be la but who knows? It'd be cool. I think I think the mushroom scene there is is is blowing up and Chicago too. I mean, any any hit metropolitan city would kill it. Yeah.
We always look at like, you know, people that you know, our website and stuff like that. Yeah, I can tell you it's not it's not Miami or not Florida, but we get the most inbounds from Florida. It's crazy. Like, like Miami area, like, I mean, it's it's wild, how many people are, are contacting us. And it kind of makes sense. Like, you have a bunch of people moving from all these different areas. You have like kind of this mixing pot of cultures and you have the restaurant scene in Miami and a lot of these up and coming cities and stuff it makes it's weird, because I didn't think I've never really thought about it like that. But I've talked to other sort of agricultural companies that are experiencing the same thing. So maybe, maybe next time but that's not that's not the next one we're doing.
So yeah, we one of our friends actually got a job at the Austin location. Which dying to visit. That is super cool. going next week, Adam offered to give us it Oh nice. So great. Looking forward to it. Sweet. I've actually never been to any of the locations. Have you seen any farm? No, I've never seen anything. Yeah, I've been in the dark the whole time. Only online which I mean you guys have beautiful a beautiful website and grabbing doggy super onpoint like as both of us have a gourmet mushroom commercial cultivation background and so it's cool to bridge the gap for a lot of people and say, you know, create those stories and create that experience of these things are super futuristic, this mushrooms are awesome. They're the future is this great superfood. It's incredible.
Yeah, this is your x factor, I think as a mushroom farm is just making it so sensational and attractive, and putting it out into where the common pedestrian will happen upon it. Every mushroom farm I've worked for has been in some obscure out of town warehouse that doesn't look like a mushroom farm and like the same thing with mushroom revival. So I love that I think that what you guys are doing is so productive for this whole movement in sensationalizing mushrooms and just making them more commonplace. And I'm sure you can speak to that on your website. I think it says specialty mushrooms the produce of our times. Can you elaborate on this and why you think they're the produce of our times?
I mean, there's a lot of a lot of reasons I would think I mean, like so we can do short term and then sort of long term stuff. Mushrooms fit in to every fat diet that I've encountered, except like someone told me that they were a meat eater or something or they only meet this person or that one. And mushrooms would work there. But we have, we have a lot of paleo keto, all these kinds of things. And as people care a little bit more about their health, and they're learning all of the, you know, aspects of their gut and different thoughts about how to, you know, manage their own diet, mushrooms fit into every single one of them, as far as I can tell. And, you know, there are definitely some people who can be allergic to mushrooms, but it's fairly uncommon, I think most people just have bad experiences with mushrooms. And in our opinion, we just need to change that. Where I think it gets really exciting is that mushrooms are so visually pleasing, and, like absolutely foreign to most people, that we're kind of going into this, like visual world where people are looking at their Instagram, they're looking at videos, and they're just like, experiencing most stuff visually, whether it's on the computer or in person. And mushrooms don't look like anything else, you know, it's like, lettuce, like romaine might sort of look like, cabbage might sort of look like some kale and some mushrooms might look like other mushrooms. But you know, when you start digging into the kingdom, you know, you'll find so many different visual, you know, so much different inspiration visually, that doesn't exist anywhere else. And I think that intrigues so many different people, that people want to eat it, they want to be healthy, but then they want to talk about it, they want to share it, they become mushroom fanatics. And I think that, you know, by bringing that to the masses, and bringing that bringing more than the button and portabella to you know, the masses of people, we can get more people excited and you know, have have a really interesting feature where people are eating a lot more of these kinds of products. I was reading every Apple read all these like food trends, you know, and I it's funny, like, getting emails about grocery store trends, and all this kind of stuff. But pretty much everyone has always said mushrooms, mushrooms always have a place in food trends since like 2017, or something like that. But what I've noticed is this year, they think a lot of it has to do with, like sustainability and sustainable eating. And like understanding where your food comes from, which I think is like about time, I really hope that, you know, that actually is a trend that really sticks around. And mushrooms are one of the most easily one of the most sustainable foods that you can get in your grocery store. I mean, I think that, depending on the production, like lentils, I think are technically like the most, they're carbon negative. As far as all foods are concerned, the growing and packaging process sucks out more carbon than it puts out. But close to that is our most mushroom productions. You know, there with any sort of agriculture, there's distribution, there's waste, there's all sorts of ways that a company can be doing it incorrectly. But nonetheless, you know, I think most mushroom productions by just by growing mushrooms are growing a pretty sustainable form of calories and nutrients.
They're decomposers it makes sense, you know, to me, we can grow it off of what would have been thrown away. Anyway.
What we talked a little bit about, you know, your beginning journeys and, you know, paycheck by paycheck playing cello to build the first mushroom farm, but what would you say is, is the hardest part of a building small hold, you know, and it could be day to day, it could be just, you know, or it could be one event in particular that that might have been the hardest experience.
It's, I mean, they're, they're always hard things that we have to deal with. I mean, like, personally, I have to, I'm the CEO. And so we have different investors and banks that we deal with, and this stuff that I'm a fairly technical grower person, to be honest, you know, and I like doing this kind of stuff, but it has been fairly new to me. And we're lucky to have a lot of supporters that believe in us and believe in myself that we can actually pull it off but like convincing people that we're going to grow mushrooms around the world, like makes sense to us and probably people listening to this, but doesn't make sense a lot of people. And so that's been difficult. It's luckily I think that we're we're just part of this big mushroom wave right now. And I think a lot of people are becoming more educated and understanding the potential of the industry and what you know what we can build. I think definitely, I mean Top of Mind is COVID that this has been a wild time to run a business, mushroom business, definitely any business in general. Making people feel comfortable in their space, making sure that people are happy, working both remote or in person, you know, we're in a, we're in a central business. And so we kept working through this whole entire thing of crazy protocol, all the PP and all that kind of stuff. But managing that and making sure people are happy through that is really is really difficult. And it's, I wouldn't I mean, a lot of people have done it. But it's it's not it's not the easiest thing in the world. And it also allowed us to, we tried so many different business lines, I mean, we did, we did home delivery for three months, while people were in quarantine, just driving around dropping off five plus pound boxes, which is an amazing thing. Like, we don't talk about it too much. But our minimum order was five pounds. A lot of people bought like five to 10 pounds per week, and they ate them all, like individual people. And you know that the, the, from whatever I'd like mushroom consumption per capita annually in the US, it's something like between three or four pounds annually. And we're having people that are eating, you know what I mean? Like, if you do the math, you're like, wow, there's a lot more capacity there. That, you know, if we get more of these mushrooms out there, then then more more, there's a lot more that people can eat. But trying different things out and which is the beauty of a startup. And it's like, kind of the fun part. But it's also a really hard part and making the right decisions and keeping people motivated through all that.
Yeah, I, I come from a similar background with, you know, studying bioremediation and hydroponics and then landing on mushrooms. And then starting a business but not having any, I don't know, if you had any business background, I had zero, and just kind of had to learn it. And now, you know, we kept all of our all of our investments internally, but we're about to open around possibly this year. And, you know, yeah, talking to the board and the investors and, you know, wearing this other hat that I would never in a million years, picture myself doing. And I just want to geek out about mushrooms. Like that's all I want to do really. And, you know, now now, like we're hiring other people to take on tasks that, you know, sucks the life out of me that I've been forced to do to keep the lights on and you know, keep the business running. But and that's the thing I hear from a lot of mushroom people out there is they want to quit their job, they want to devote the rest of their life to mushrooms, they want to start their own mushroom business. But the business aspect is what they're like nails on the chalkboard. They're like, I just want to like geek out with mushrooms and like please let it pay my bills. But I don't want to that half that business side, I want nothing to do you know to do with. So to those people who maybe are into mushrooms, they are figuring out like, Okay, how can I turn this passion into paying my bills? Do you have any advice for those people out there?
Yeah, I mean, there's a lot anyone can always reach out to me, I actually pretty responsive. I'm not like a mega celebrity or anything. So like if anyone ever wants to email me for advice, or connections or whatever have you do. But the like, we went down the like venture capital route, you know, and we have investors and stuff like that, which is an amazing way to grow rapidly. I suggest it if that's what you want to do. But it is not the only way to do it. In the indoor ag world, I don't see as much in the mushroom world, but especially in the leafy green and basil and or whatever world, a lot of people are going into that and starting to get, you know, venture investors that want to return really quickly. You don't have to do that. And I encounter so many people that think that's the only way of doing it. And so they start going down this road, and then they realize that's not exactly what they want, you can be totally successful not doing it. There's tons of grants, there's banks that will lend and work with you as a small business. It takes a little longer, but that's fine, like and I totally suggest that to most people and just do the real research to make sure that's what you want to do. Because hard. And that said on the flip side, it's amazing because it's all it does allow you to grow pretty quickly. You get to meet some amazing people and you get to bring in some really like a lot of great advice, which is why I've I've really enjoyed having you know, investors and experts kind of that are helping us out with different things. But I would just you know, make sure that you're financing it in the way that makes sense to you because there are so many different ways of doing that. Also usually suggest everyone test their market before they start doing it. Like I always do it. We were growing stuff for quite a while before we decided to you know, be full time and just like quit her jobs and do it. And also, I just kind of had a lot of background in growing and selling things. And so I knew how to like analyze market and stuff like that. But you know, you can you can test stuff out you can talk to people talk to different founders talk to different farmers try to kind of feel it out. And and before you really try to just quit your job and spend spend everything on it. What I find amazing about the mushroom industry, at least in my experience, we found a lot of people fairly open, which is not the case in a lot of the American greenhouse world, a lot of people are pretty closed doors these days, signing NDAs and being pretty secretive and stuff. And sometimes you'll encounter that in the restroom space. But we found a lot of sort of old school farmers that are extremely open, putting stuff on YouTube, inviting people into their doors, just like talking about different methods and ways of doing things. And you should always do that. And like, it's my opinion, and sort of how we run our businesses usually, like we'll invite people, and we'll show people stuff, because we'd rather like have friends that are also sharing information with us, rather than having a bunch of closed doors. And we have no idea what anyone else is doing. Because it's not like me or you or another small farmer against each other. It's all of us really trying to change the broader, you know, the broader space of mushrooms, but then also agriculture in general.
And it might help if you know how to play cello really well, to pay your bills. No, I know, I on a serious note, I totally agree. And we we've been working on this, this cordyceps technique for commercial production, especially, you know, organically and for years spending a stupid amount of hours and money on it. And we just made it for free on YouTube. And it felt great to just be like, yeah, we're not. We don't want we don't want to not have other you know, mushroom farmers. It we're all in this together. And I would love to see a million huge cordyceps farms pop up in the US and all make our tech look silly. Yeah, I would love someone come in who's actually smart, who can make our tech look like a baby did it? You know, because it helps the whole industry and you know, yeah, worse. I think the whole industry of mushrooms is dribbling, baby, you know, we've discovered probably what less than 2% of all fungi. And with those 2% that we know, we know nothing about the 2% that we found. So we have light years to go. And if we're all closed or kind of in secret, then we're not going to Yeah, nothing's gonna happen. So yeah, I want more people to quit their job and devote their life to mushrooms, more mushroom farms, more mushroom companies. I think we're part of the shroom boom right now and it's exciting to see this. People like you making mushroom sexy and making it accessible and making it you know, creating this portal for people to dive in and realize, yes, be going beyond the button mushroom. And seeing like, Whoa, there's this crazy lion's mane and pink oyster and yellow oyster and, you know, all these crazy species. We're actually just ate a lion's mane from your farm in Austin. And we use huge, massive giant. Yeah, size of our heads and we we cut it up did an egg wash we breaded it. And it tastes exactly like breaded fish, like, straight up. Yeah, it was unbelievable. Really good. Great job.
So one thing I love about smallholders, in addition to just your amazing marketing and many farms is your newsletter. I'm subscribed to it and it comes once a month. And it's just fungal news, like anything and everything. And I actually reference your newsletter a lot for this podcast. That's how I found a few like the fungi. I didn't know that was a thing until I got your newsletter. And thank you for making it. I encourage any fungalphile out there to subscribe to it because it's just delightful. But how do you do the research? How do you find these things and then compile them.
I mean, we have a lot of people working on it essentially internal internally, like we have our we use Slack, which I both love and hate at the same time. And we have a channel where we put all this kind of stuff and luckily we work with a bunch of people who are obsessed with mushrooms and So, you know, it's I'm sure you guys get this where you know, your, your friends, grandma sends them some crazy link and then they send it to you because you're the mushroom person. And so we have lots of those mushroom people that then populate our slack with a lot of that, honestly, that's how we find most of this. But then also, we're just kind of into it. And so we just keep keep an eye out and start reading. And thanks to all those grandmas out there sending. Like I we, with the, with the newsletter in particular, it's it's kind of how we feel about Mike marketing in general. And a lot of this stuff, it's like, you can go and tell someone to like buy your stuff, which is how most people market but I think that mushrooms are so exciting for people that we will do better if we just get some people obsessed with mushrooms, and then hopefully they find our product, but maybe they'll find yours, maybe they'll find some other mushroom farm, it's totally fine. But by getting more people as mushroom fanatics, that then go and share those links to other people. Like that's what we want, you know, and that's what I think all of us should really be trying to create, because mushrooms just have this amazing ability to do that. And I've never grown anything like that. Like, I've met one person who's obsessed with basil. That was cool. But like, you know, but I've never met a lettuce person that like goes to the lettuce.
Oh, yeah, broccoli heads. Broccoli conferences.
Like big industries, you know, and, and yet, people walk over there no excess with it. And and mushrooms just have this amazing effect on people. I mean, we're all that we all of us. And again, I'm sure your listeners are of these of this mindset. But like, I think that you see that you see people's eyes change, you know, when they when they have that like moment where they're like, wow, this is a mushroom and wow, like, I can eat this thing. And it's good for me and like, it's not this slimy button mushroom that I ate as a kid and told everyone that I was allergic to mushrooms later in my life. Which is honestly what we encounter the most and we have like mushroom haters. But anyway, it's, that's that's what we're always trying to do with with a lot of what we do. You know, it's like showing people a different, like, visual experience or educational experience with mushrooms, rather than than just being like, buy it because it's good for you. Or something like that.
Sometimes I feel like we're kind of in the prohibition of mushrooms and like, you know, there's magic mushrooms that are definitely illegal, but I feel like all mushrooms are semi prohibited. In this way. It's like culturally here in the US, it's not as accepted. It's getting there, you know, and it's it's getting on the top five or 10 food trend lists and all these different places and more celebrities are taking in more awareness but most of the US I mean, it's just it's like slimy button mushrooms but fungus magic mushrooms, mushrooms that'll kill you. You know, those are the top four are like Mario, Amanita muscaria are the the right you know mushroom emoji on your phone but and so that's cool I think to be in the crowd that's talking about this like kind of you know secret thing that's a little prohibited it's a little risque it's a little you know, alien it's a little out there and to meet other people that that know and are part of the the mushroom family you're like, you know what's up, you know, you know, you know about the mushrooms?
Do you ever witness people encountering a mini farm for the first time like if you go work on the wholefoods one and you're just hanging out and you just watch people notice it, what is it? What do you notice?
So it's the funniest thing. I mean, sometimes people just like they walk by it and then they go by the thing and they don't like the by the mushrooms. They never like put two and two together. That happens all the time. Which is funny to me. You get a lot of people when we did one of the wholefoods ones, a lot of people think it's an aquarium, and then they go through this thought process where they're like, wow, this is that and wow, I can eat that thing. And that's like really crazy. But the best the best one is if people are harvesting at the point when they're there we don't like people don't pick it and then give it to you necessarily like it's picked up and put on the shelf. And when people see that it's like it's just a really wild experience because they're looking at this thing and it looks like untouchable and it looks like this alien creature. But then you open the window and you pick the mushroom off and then you put it on the shelf and then it's something that they can eat. Like that whole process people like not only with mushrooms, but people haven't seen that in farming, like most people don't really know where their food comes from. It's just like a boneless, skinless chicken breast or something that shows up in a plastic wrap thing. But that is the coolest thing because yeah They, people's mind gets blown and kids get, like, super excited about it. And they, you know, there's there is a point where some people don't. So people are like, Okay, that was like too real. And so maybe I'll buy it next time, and I'll eat it next time. Because it still feels like this foreign thing. But no, it's like, I think that that that those are those moments where people are like, Okay, I need to go and like, read up a little bit more about mushrooms, because that was really cool. And that thing is really cool. And that's how you create those fans. And that's how you create those those mushroom obsessed people.
Definitely, I don't know if you have this, I've never seen a mini farm but have like a little monitor with a time lapse of it growing. If they did, you know, just have a little like, I don't know 22nd video playing on a loop of it starting from pins and then someone harvest is in in cooks a meal. With a little fun fact about mushrooms I think would be cool. Little two cents, use it or throw it away, whatever.
Give you a credit. We do. We've tried, we've tried many times the we've done a few time lapse. And we've used them in the past before. Though we're really good at, we feel like we're good at like making websites and doing Instagram and stuff where we still are working on our technical abilities, and doing time lapse really well. But we are working with some cool people on some really cool time lapse projects that hopefully will come out next year. And so we'll stay tuned for that one. Man.
What do you feel? You know, we talked a little bit about the future of small hold, but as a whole industry of mushrooms mushroom farming, what do you feel is the future of mushrooms?
Yeah, I mean, I think they're, I think they're going to be everywhere. I mean, mushrooms are already in fungi, fungi is already everywhere, like in as far as the ecosystem is concerned. And I don't see why it wouldn't be in every aspect of business. It already is kind of becoming like that. We're focused on food and fresh product. But you know, you look at... you look at psychology, you look at beauty, beauty is a really big industry that's luckily starting to understand the the effects of dyes and all the crazy stuff that they're doing. You have construction, like, you know, people building making materials out of it. In the meat industry. I mean, it's, it's hard, it's hard to find an industry that that mushrooms haven't impacted in some sort of way. And I think that will only continue, I think that's kind of the beauty of mushrooms is that, like, we don't really understand them, but they will find their way and pretty much everything. And it's okay to just let it happen, because it's going to happen. And, you know, I think that by trying to think of ourselves as humans, separate from our environment, or separate from fun guy or separate from plants, is kind of not not understanding the point of what an ecosystem is. And by trying to keep, you know, this part of our environment outside of our industries, I think that it's it's, it's, it's just not gonna, it's not gonna happen. So I think that we're gonna find it everywhere, and people are gonna be fine. Like, people are just way, way more familiar with, you know how mushrooms grow, they'll be way more excited about eating it by feeding their kids with it, by experiencing it in different sort of ways. And I'm really excited about it. Because I think that we are so early right now on the mushroom industry, it's absolutely crazy. People are just focusing on food, you know, and there's all these cool concepts out there. But none of them have really been commercialized, you know, in a really big way. Even the food industry as far as mushrooms are concerned. And so it's just I think that it's, it's only going to be more. I do hope that more people eat less meat, I at least in my community, I see a lot of people doing that, I hope it becomes more mainstream. I think that happens, especially with Western diets, people are going to really want this sort of savory, umami kind of experience that mushrooms provide. And I haven't seen too many other products on the market that provide that, um, that aren't using mushrooms, so at some point in their process. And so I think that that will only continue and, and I'm excited for it.
As to that's partially, or one thing I love about this podcast is just discovering all the nooks and crannies that fungi are showing up. And it's only just begun. So we have one final question. And the question is, if mushrooms had the microphone and could say one thing to the whole human race, what do you think they would say?
Yeah, it is tough. It's a tough question. I mean, I could never speak for the master First of all, and so, you know preface with that. I, what what I one thing that really drew me to mushrooms, it'll make sense. I'll answer the question what the story essentially, is that there is so much mystery, you brought it up, like we know what like I, you know, less than 2%, definitely of of the fungal kingdom and we still don't really know how these things grow or how to cultivate them or how to do anything. And I usually like I have to teach, I teach classes and stuff when we were like not doing COVID on mushrooms as a farmer, like, I usually preface a lot of this, like, to your average Joe, I'm probably a mycologist. But I consider myself a farmer, that's my background. And so like, I look at the mushroom world and the fungal Kingdom as a farmer, not necessarily as a mycologist. And I use language in a way that makes sense for me as a farmer, and a mycologist might use language in a way that makes sense for mycologist. But both of us are not using language for the mushroom, because we're trying to use human language and trying to explain it to other humans, when it's just something that, you know, we're probably never going to really understand. And so and that, that just makes me so excited about it, where there there, there are not a lot of things that I think humans can kind of let go of just like trying to understand everything about and that's what I kind of think that mushrooms would say to everyone, I was just kind of, like, roll with it, you know, like, you know, just just enjoy the ride. Because you should you can you can help us grow and you can be part of the story and, you know, we can we can work together on this. Or, you know, you can try and you should continue to try to learn more and understand it in your own way. But it's okay to like, not not totally understand it, you know, and I think that kind of crosses into all sorts of other aspects of ecology in our environment. But I think it's it's especially affects the mushroom community.
Have you read Entangled Life? Yeah. Great, great book. Yeah, I felt like I could tell as as.
You said, roll with it. I was imagining someone being infected by cordyceps. And the cordyceps are just like just just roll with it.
Cuz I think about this all the time, where it's like, yeah, cuz cuz he, I mean, I don't want to ruin the book. But there is right in that there's part of it that's kind of talking about it in that way. And that really resonated with me to where it's like, yeah, it's it doesn't have to be controlling your muscles or controlling your brain to be changing how you bring mushrooms, how you help mushrooms grow, or reproduce. So everyone should read that book.
And where can people follow you? If you if people are in New York City, where where can they find you? And if they're in Austin, where can they find you? Or if they're somewhere else? And they're on online?
Yeah. So you can check us out visually, it's multiple.com. We're also on Instagram. It's small hold. We have a Twitter presence too. But I don't tweet enough. Then. We are in when you're in New York. We're in all wholefoods in New York City. We're in a bunch of local retailers. And so if you go to, you know, your local grocery store, like green grape or union market, we're in all of those. And then we sell with a lot of restaurants. And so we're the only, you know, commercial mushroom farm in New York City. And so, you know, if people are trying to source local mushrooms, usually they're dealing with us. You can find many farms at bunker Vietnamese at Mason, Yaki standard hotels, there are a few different estimates a few different places you can find those. In Texas we're in. We're in a few central markets right now. We're going to be in all of them in about a week. And then we're working on a bunch of fillers. Yeah, thank you. Central markets, amazing store if you haven't been there, they they're also just an amazing group to work with really, really great to their employees and just a really amazing, amazing business over there. You can also buy aggregates from us like we do sell grow kits for people to grow at home. Those, you can go onto a home comm and find those and we ship everywhere nationally. You know, free shipping. So so definitely come come come grow at home if you want.
And if anyone or any institution is interested in a mini farm, would they just email you or email someone and get that process started?
Yeah, if you just go to small.com we have a contact area and then there's an email for our sales team at sales. It's all calm, but in my living room, you're gonna go you're gonna go and see him. You know, we can we can figure it out.
We have a bunch of we have Reishi allover and some cordyceps but yeah, it would be. They look so cool. I mean, they look straight out of a spaceship. Thank you. Yeah, I want to add a little button for like a spaceship sound like.
Yeah. When you open the doors for it to make Yeah, we want like a like a Star Wars door. Or Hell yeah, we're like Angel Angel choir. I think that's a good one. Napa great, love it.
That wraps up another episode of the mushroom revival podcast. Thank you for all of our listeners for tuning in chiming in to another one. If this is your first time Welcome. If you are listening, just audio we have this is a video as well. So, head over to our website at mushroom revival.com we have the video there or on YouTube. And please, you know, leave a review whatever is genuine to you and tell your friends tell your grandma to send it out in our next newsletter to all of her all of our mushroom friends and we'd love you so much we can do without you guys. Please keep spreading the word about mushrooms. We're all in this together. So thank you everyone. Much love ma the spores be with you.