LifeCap Farms is a new sustainable urban mushroom farm based out of Jersey City, NJ. LifeCap is passionate about providing local, organic, gourmet mushrooms and mushroom-based products to the community. Its mission is to spread the love of mushrooms, educate the community on mushrooms’ endless health benefits, and illustrate how to grow organic healthy foods in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way. Keep reading to find out how this new small Jersey City business aims to bring farm-fresh mushrooms and products right to your table.
(Photo credit: Sara Munjack)
The Story Behind Life Cap Farms
LifeCap Farms was founded by Baris Sonmez, a Jersey native, who worked in corporate America for 12 years. In 2015, Baris decided to travel the world to pursue other passions. Six months in, Baris had to come back home to take care of his family for personal reasons. Not having enough of his own resources at the time, he decided to start growing vegetables in his garden to save on groceries. This ignited Baris’ passion to see things grow— and he started volunteering for Green Acre Community Garden in his hometown of Paterson, NJ.
(Photo credit: Marinell Montales)
This volunteer work led to a passion for helping build food systems in food deserts and a love for helping to provide organic produce to the community. Baris decided to expand his passion and take classes at various universities to expand his knowledge of farming. It was then that he found the hidden gem of ‘Fungi.’ Baris shared with The Hoboken Girl, “Mushrooms are something complex and beautiful at the same time. They can decompose matter and bring life to a given environment. They are medicinal and ancient.” As a result of this newly discovered passion for mushrooms, LifeCap Farms was born in 2018.
About LifeCap Farms
(Photo credit: Sivan Donenfeld)
LifeCap Farms was founded in 2018 to grow organic gourmet mushrooms with the mission of serving the community by providing produce to non-profits at no cost, providing composting to urban gardens, and offering youth education. In 2021, LifeCap farms expanded to its new location in Jersey City. The farm is in a 6,000 square foot warehouse and its goal is to provide New Jersey and New York with organic, fresh, local, and gourmet seasonal mushrooms. The facility is currently equipped with a laboratory, incubation room, and grow rooms.
Currently, LifeCap Farms has an amazing team of individuals who are passionate about the mission and mushroom offerings for the community. The team is currently partnering with a few restaurants such as Corto to provide gourmet organic mushrooms as well as donating mushrooms at no cost to Plant Base Market, which recently established itself as a non-profit and will be offering donation-based meals to the community.
LifeCap Farms currently offers a CSA program that just kicked off for the season (Community Supported Agriculture), which offers a bi-weekly mushroom variety box that can be selected in one-to-three-pound sizes (3-month minimum commitment). LiefCap conveniently offers four pick-up locations within Jersey City; Plant Base Market (370 Pacific Avenue), Busy Bee Organics (451 Palisade Avenue), Raine n River Apothecary (299 Grove Street), and Griot Café (398 Central Avenue). It also has a CSA pick-up location at Village Green Restaurant in Ridgewood, NJ.
(Photo credit: Lisa Guillard)
The mushroom variety ranges from Blue Oyster to Black Pearl Oyster, King Oyster, Lion’s Mane, Chestnuts, Shiitake, Enoki, White/Brown Beech, Maitake, and more. In addition to fresh mushrooms, LifeCap also has dried mushrooms, powders, tinctures, and grow bags.
Future of LifeCap Farms
In addition to current offerings, LifeCap Farms hopes to expand its partnership with more local restaurants, build its current CSA program, and collaborate with more non-profits and urban gardens. As a musician, owner Baris would also like to utilize the warehouse space for the arts and are in the process of finding synergies with local artists, musicians, and poets.
In the future, Lifecap hopes to expand to hydroponic farming and Spirulina cultivation. The team at LifeCap farms also hopes to see its locally-grown organic mushrooms in the hands of people in the community and provide access to high-quality mushrooms to people of all different types of needs. LifeCap also believes in educating the community on mushrooms, their health benefits, their importance, finding new and innovative ways to cook them, and offering them as a meat alternative.