Last May, Smallhold began delivering locally grown, USDA Certified Organic specialty mushrooms to Southern California in its first West Coast expansion, alongside existing farms in Brooklyn and Austin. Now, a little over a year later, the sustainability-focused company is starting a new first, with the launch of a new product: a Mushroom Rub Trio.

In addition to the new release, Smallhold just recently earned their B Corp Certification—marking a significant milestone in the company’s dedication to addressing our planet’s greatest challenges. The number of B Corp businesses is over 6,000 long and growing, with Smallhold joining the ranks of Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, and other vocal companies who don’t shy away from their stances on social and environmental standards. Smallhold voluntarily upholds rigorous social and environmental performance standards, fostering accountability and transparency. The company will measure and manage its impact on its workforce, local communities, and the environment with the same level of dedication and scrutiny that it applies to its financial performance.

Smallhold’s seasonings are thoughtfully crafted by their farmers to celebrate the distinct flavors of the 3 regions of their mushroom farms in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Austin. Boosted by mushrooms, these rubs do each region justice, as they capture the flavors and notes that many love about these locale-based highlights. It’s amazing to think that they may even be better for you than some offerings on store shelves, due to the fact that a mushroom base lies at the foundation of each rub’s existence.

Here’s a breakdown of each new offering in the Mushroom Rub Trio:

BROOKLYN: Savory + Crunchy. Atlantic Ocean meets Everything Bagel.
Use: Dredge your seafood and poultry, or sprinkle as a seedy garnish.
Ingredients: Lion’s mane mushrooms, garlic, poppy seeds, sea salt, onion, white sesame seeds, The Crop Project kelp.

Use: Rub on red meat and mushrooms for grilling.
Ingredients: Blue oyster mushrooms, kosher salt, brown sugar, black pepper, garlic, smoked paprika, ancho, applewood, smoked salt.

LOS ANGELES: Sweet + Spicy.
Use: Coat your veggies and tofu.
Ingredients: Trumpet mushrooms, sea salt, maple sugar, soy sauce powder, gochugaru, garlic, ginger, black pepper, black sesame seeds.

We’ve tested this tasty trio out, and were amazed at how authentic each blend came across our palates, making us instant fans. In addition, we had the opportunity to ask questions about Smallhold’s last year, the new release, and where they’re going in the near future. Read on for more from Smallhold’s  CEO & Co-Founder, Andrew Carter.

Q&A With Andrew Carter, CEO & Co-Founder of Smallhold

Hello Smallhold team! Congratulations for being the trailblazers that you are–and for all your success over the last year! Andrew, please share what your role is, and describe to readers what this year has meant for you and the Smallhold team achieving your new B Corp Certification and latest product launches.

Andrew: In 2017, my co-founder Adam DeMartino and myself modified a shipping container in Brooklyn to grow specialty mushrooms for restaurants and our surrounding community. We launched with one mission in mind: get more Americans to be excited about mushrooms, and all of the nutrition and variety the fungal Kingdom can bring to their diet. Six years later, Smallhold has warehouse farms around the country, can be found at major grocery stores and renowned restaurants, and just announced our B Corporation certification.

This is a big step for the food industry, and reflects the importance of a company like this one. Smallhold is making specialty organic mushrooms more accessible and more understood, which will hopefully change our society’s impact to our environment with access to more sustainable, healthy, and fun-to-eat foods.  

We barely changed anything about Smallhold to become a B Corp. We were doing all of these things already. Paying a living wage, energy efficiency, circularity, sustainability, is all in the DNA of what we do, always has been. The B Corp process has allowed us to quantify it, explain it to the public, and, most importantly, find even more ways to improve in the years to come.  

Becoming a certified B Corporation is an ongoing journey. We’re continuously working to hold ourselves accountable, which means there’s a constant need of evaluation, adaptation and collaboration—a path worth pursuing. 


Last year, we covered Smallhold’s first West Coast launch of a certified organic mushroom farm here in Los Angeles. What has changed most for your team since that launch?

Andrew: With increased exposure and customer feedback, our customer base has grown, and we have garnered more recognition within the organic food industry. With each new farm we’ve opened, we keep learning more about what people really want in the communities we operate within, trusting our teams to lead, and finding genuine efficiencies of scale.

This has opened up many doors and opportunities for collaboration. In terms of major milestones, we recently announced our nationwide expansion with Whole Foods Market after becoming their fastest growing specialty mushroom supplier. You can now find Smallhold at 1,000+ retail locations across the country. 


Did you face any hardships during this time? If so, how did you overcome them?

Andrew:  Of course. We’re constantly balancing our goals as a business with what we want to see in the food system.  We’re putting compostable packaging in a section of the grocery store filled with a sea of plastic and styrofoam.  We’re bringing varieties like Lions Mane to communities that have never seen these mushrooms before.  We’re building a team to build and grow a company that is completely new for the industry.  All of these come with their challenges, and most of them are solved by constant perseverance and trusting our team to do the right thing.  There are barely ever situations where there is only one solution to a problem, and it’s important for our team members to step back and trust each other even if they may think differently.


Obtaining a B Corp Certification is a big deal—especially today—as we witness jarring developments in weather, climate, and connected systems all across the world. One forgotten aspect of those changes continues to be the communities who take the brunt of impact. Can you explain why reconnecting people with food, nature, and farmers is the mission at the core of Smallhold, and how this can potentially change how we view the world?

Andrew: The food industry is vast and has massive impacts on our environment.  Through chemical use, global shipping routes, emissions, water use, everything we eat is affecting our planet every day.  We think that by having a fun, tasty food, with tons of variety, colors, nutritional value, and more, that also has a positive impact on the environment, we can drive massive change on our planet.  The more people eat mushrooms, the less they’re eating of other, less sustainable products, so we want as many people as possible eating as many mushrooms as possible.  

At Smallhold, we tangibly give back to our communities through composting or donating 100% of our spent mushroom substrate, the blocks from which our mushrooms grow. It fills me with pride to know that we are collectively contributing to a more circular economy by supporting at-home mycologists, local gardeners, and farmers in the process. This happens at every Smallhold farm across the country, and we are committed to continuing it at future farms.

Through our public community activations, we have the opportunity to educate large groups of people and spread awareness of the incredible benefits of our mushrooms and mushroom farming in general. I truly believe that by doing so, we are making a positive impact on the environment and the climate.

One aspect that I find particularly rewarding is how our waste makes its way back into the soil through farming, composting, and other activities carried out by our community members. This not only minimizes waste but also has a significant effect on the pressing climate issues we face today. Healthy soil is crucial for keeping carbon out of the atmosphere, and our efforts in reusing millions of pounds of compost play a huge role in achieving that.

I am proud of our commitment to sustainability and the positive influence we have on our communities and the environment. By continuing to prioritize these practices and spreading awareness through education, we are actively working towards a more sustainable and nutritious future for everyone.


Mushrooms have seen great PR these days! Would you care to drop some common and little known facts about what makes them so great?

Andrew: Mushrooms are truly incredible organisms with diverse uses, from culinary delights to environmental remediation and health benefits. Their unique characteristics and contributions to the natural world make them a subject of ongoing scientific research and human fascination.

Mushrooms are nutrient-rich and a great meat substitute while also playing a vital role in the ecosystem by breaking down organic matter and recycling nutrients. For example, there is a lot of emerging research coming out about an antioxidant found only in mushrooms, especially oyster mushrooms, called Ergothioniene, that has anti-aging properties and is extremely good for your health.   

The scientific community is just scratching the surface on mushrooms, both on how to grow them and how they can benefit our health and society.  That just makes me even more fascinated by them, and inspired to help more people become more familiar with them.  


People today are more interested in growing their own food for the first time in what’s probably the largest surge in a very long time—and most people think of greens, fruits and veggies for their at-home farming. How do you capture people on the idea of growing mushrooms at home, beyond just their nutritional benefits? Is it a more convenient and passive process than most other home garden choices?

Andrew: Growing mushrooms at home can be a captivating and educational experience, and is definitely more convenient than other home garden choices. It also allows people to witness the fascinating life cycle of mushrooms, from spore to fruiting body. The process offers a deeper understanding of the fungi kingdom and its vital role in the ecosystem.

Home mushroom growing is also considerably faster than growing anything else – you can watch it grow in front of your eyes.  If you get a grow kit from a local mushroom producer, many varieties will grow within 7-14 days with minimal misting. There’s no better way to get someone excited about mushrooms than involving them in the growing process like that.


Smallhold just recently launched a new first: a Mushroom Rub Trio! What made your team come up with the idea to release a new product in this more traditional lane?

Andrew: The trio really came about because we dehydrate excess or funny-looking mushrooms so as to not waste them. We do sell them as straight up dried mushrooms, but we wanted to do something more creative with them and had the idea to ask each GM of our farm to develop a recipe for a seasoning blend. All three of them are chefs or food people in their own right, and created some truly delicious blends. 

Ultimately this was a really small batch project, but we prioritize it because it always comes back to getting more people eating and excited about mushrooms. They’re incredibly versatile and delicious. 


The rubs taste amazing, with each cleverly and accurately representing a city! How did your team come up with the flavors and choose which cities to launch with?

Andrew: Thank you! Honestly, we are just very lucky to have a multi talented team who are equally passionate about mushrooms, good food, and running tight operations. Mushrooms have a funny way of attracting like minded folks.

The cities represent where we have farms; the leader of each farm dreamed up their own ideal blend.

It’s important to note, too, that our Innovations team creates exciting things with our mushrooms and are skilled at commercializing products, so they guided the development process. This was a passion project but we’re curious if there might be a bigger demand down the line.


After a taste test, we found the Brooklyn rub to be a better (and likely healthier) “everything bagel” blend, and immediately put it to use with cream cheese on toast! Of course, seasoning blends can be universally applied, but do you have any recipes or combination recommendations that readers should give a try? 

Andrew: The really fun thing about the blends is that they are truly a “choose your own adventure” style trio. I like to add the Brooklyn blend to eggs, the Los Angeles blend to fish, and the Austin blend to anything I’m grilling–particularly Trumpet mushrooms since they stand up so well to high heat.


Finally, what goals do the Smallhold team have their sights set on for the next year?

Andrew: You might see some more mushroom products coming out of our kitchens and into the real world later this year… stay tuned!