At The Standard hotel in the East Village, one will find a mushroom farm, the world’s first inside of a hotel, being harvested every week for guests and shroom aficionados. This month, the hotel is hosting a cluster of events for the public that revolve around toadstools: from psychedelic talks with the Brooklyn Psychedelic Society to mushroom-growing workshops with fungi researchers.
David Gross, the executive chef at the hotel’s Café Standard, thought the hotel’s mushroom farm was one of the coolest things when he was hired. The hotel’s mushroom farm runs along the top of the Café Standard, where Gross and other kitchen staff take turns harvesting the Blue Oyster mushrooms each week.
“It looks like an aquarium of sorts,” Gross said. “Typically, we get about 30 pounds a week out of the farm, which is a lot of mushrooms. They’re very utilitarian.”
But the hotel doesn’t work alone: there’s a science behind growing mushrooms, and it’s really a mushroom professional’s job, Gross said. The hotel works with Smallhold, a Brooklyn-based mushroom proprietor that maintains the farm. The company, which had approached The Standard in 2019 with the opportunity, also oversees other mini-mushroom farms in Austin, Texas, and Los Angeles, and sells harvested mushrooms in produce markets such as Whole Foods and Safeway.
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