November’s featured startup - Smallhold
Smallhold is the first and only organic mushroom farm in Brooklyn. Their produce is distributed throughout partner restaurants, grocery stores and markets and provides the technology to grow its mushrooms. We caught up with Adam DeMartino, Co-founder and COO of Smallhold.
November 02, 2018
DBP: Tell us about Smallhold. What propelled and inspired you to start the business?
Adam: Aside from the growing demand for gourmet mushrooms and a changing American diet, mushrooms lend themselves to indoor agriculture. They’re a finicky crop, but if you have an efficient way to tightly control their growth parameters you can do a lot with them. The problem is, they have a very short shelf life.
We wanted to bring the mystery and romance of mushrooms into people’s lives and have them connect with their local produce in a way that’s honestly been lost over the past few decades. So we built a system and model to solve for local mushroom quality and distribution.
DBP: Why did you choose to start your business in Brooklyn, and can you speak to why Brooklyn is a great place to do business?
Adam: It’s sort of cheesy to say this, but we have friends here. The community around us is the only reason Smallhold exists - they bought our first mushrooms, painted our first shipping container farm with us, and continue to add value to the company by supporting us in so many ways.
DBP: Can you tell us about your customer base and who your audience is.
Adam: Our customers are people who expect more from their produce. Americans are slowly regaining their understanding of what fresh food is supposed to see, smell and taste like.
DBP: How do you see Smallhold fitting into the future of how, and what, we eat in an ever-urbanizing world?
Adam: Smallhold quite literally IS the future of what and how we eat. The technology is simple enough and cheap enough for us to grow our food right where we consume or purchase it. There’s no reason we need to ship decomposing mushrooms hundreds or thousands of miles to sit on a shelf when you can grow them onsite and eat within minutes of harvest.
DBP: Anything else you’d like to add? What’s next for Smallhold? Any big partnerships on the horizon? Recent achievements?
Adam: We’ll be opening with a handful of amazing chefs over the next couple of months, and watch out for some interesting retail placements.
DBP: Sounds great! How do we learn more?