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CEO Andrew Carter (left) and COO Adam DeMartino, co-founders of Smallhold, at their warehouse. The startup builds automated climate-controlled Minifarms for customers including the Mission Chinese Food restaurant in New York.

CEO Andrew Carter (left) and COO Adam DeMartino, co-founders of Smallhold, at their warehouse. The startup builds automated climate-controlled Minifarms for customers including the Mission Chinese Food restaurant in New York.

Photographer: Adrienne Grunwald for Bloomberg

The Company Bringing the Farm Right to the Table

A new urban-farming startup wants to grow mushrooms in restaurants, for all the diners to see.
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Diners flock to Mission Chinese Food in Manhattan’s Lower East Side for the ambience, as much as the innovative twists on Sichuan food. Customers have been known to wait hours for the privilege of eating Kung Pao pastrami amid “Chinese banquet and surrealist” decor, as executive chef Angela Dimayuga describes it.

On Wednesday, the restaurant adds its newest piece of kitsch. Nestled between the entrance and the bar, above an interior window, sits a rectangular box emanating blue light. It’s filled with extraterrestrial looking life forms: mushrooms.