You'll find the Smallhold Mushroom Farm under the City of Vernon Water Tower. The Erewhon distribution center is just across the railroad tracks.  

Urban mushroom farmers Smallhold, pioneers in indoor agriculture technology, have opened the first Certified Organic Mushroom Farm in Los Angeles County in a 34,000 square foot facility in Vernon. They have made their locally farmed specialty mushrooms like lion's mane, blue and yellow oyster, trumpet, and shitake – normally only found at farmers' markets – available in grocery stores like Whole Foods Erewhon and Lassens. They will soon make their debut on the Gjelina menu and can be ordered online at Good Eggs and Imperfect Foods.

"You don't often see them in the stores because people don't know what to do with them," says co-founder Andrew Carter, who started growing mushrooms in his basement. "We'd like to change that. They really don't benefit from long distances. Forget about the carbon footprint for a minute, just shipping them from far away, they get damaged and have a short shelf life, so you have to ship them in very unsustainable material. All the mushrooms you find in the grocery store use tons of plastic or styrofoam, so they get sweaty and slimy from bacterial infections. We put them in compostable clamshell cardboard containers, so if you remove the little window, it's home compostable. It doesn't have to go to some crazy recycling plant. You can just tear it up and put it in your yard."

Originally from Los Angeles, Carter is an indoor agriculturist and vertical farming expert, having spent time working for Tree People and later started growing mushrooms in shipping containers back east. Smallhold also has farms in New York and Texas.

Walking into the 60-degree light-controlled industrial farm pods filled with an earthy aroma is like stepping from the 7th Street Bridge into a Grimm's fairy tale. Bags of sawdust that were originally a byproduct of the timber industry headed for landfills are inoculated with mycelium, which after about three or four weeks completely envelops the sawdust and is ready to fruit. The bags are exposed to specific light and temperature conditions and start to sprout up and produce mushrooms in two to three days. Smallhold grows about 15 different varieties of digester mushrooms.

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