On a gritty, trash-strewn block of warehouses in Long Island City, a collection of small businesses are sharing space and resources to churn out some of New York’s healthiest, organic food innovations.
The Organic Food Incubator (OFI) was created by kombucha and fermented foods purveyor BAO Food and Drink in 2010.
Since then, founder Michael Schwartz has welcomed vegan ice cream churners, green juice pressers, and gluten-free bakers, taking care to make sure that each tenant is using natural ingredients. “Sugar is okay, high fructose corn syrup is not,” he says.
It’s not the only one of its kind in New York City either—One Lucky Duck recently moved its production into a Williamsburg space shared by People’s Pops and Kombucha Brooklyn, and Little Duck Organics shares space with Sprout Skincare in Greenpoint.
As a real estate concept, this allows small businesses to cut costs and pool momentum. There’s also “a really nice sharing of information and ideas,” Schwartz says. We got a sneak peek inside this organic foodie collective.
Tumeric Alive creates and bottles its turmeric-infused elixirs at the OFI, after the nutrient-packed turmeric is flown in from Hawaii.
Love Grace Foods, founded by Carissa-Ann Santos and Jacob Mabanta, is the indie juice brand that Wall Street loves. The company cold presses its Super Cider and Green Sunshine out of a small kitchen at the OFI.
BAO (Bad Ass Organic) Food and Drink occupies one of the largest spaces at the OFI, where it creates its fermented foods—and all of the condiments for the city’s numerous Bareburger locations.
The Soft Serve Fruit Co. turns fresh fruit into its signature vegan froyo here.
Free Bread bakes a great-tasting gluten-free bread, in varieties like jalapeno-cheddar and cranberry. And it’s soy, nut, and sugar-free too, for those with allergies to spare.
Giuseppe Maione and JD Gross, the men behind Alchemy Creamery, churn their creamy, coconut milk-based vegan ice cream here. It comes in creative, seasonal flavors like dark chocolate chai and caramel with salted walnuts. (We sampled a fall pumpkin flavor that was to die for!)
Rawpothecary is a new juice brand that’s just a few months old. Founded by Stephanie Walczak, the company’s drinks—like Kalefornia Dreamin’—are blended, fiber intact, rather than juiced. They also make some fab nut and seed milks.
Other brands that use the OFI and aren’t pictured here? CakeBites NYC, Darosario Organics, Saucy By Nature, The Splendid Spoon, Cup and Compass, Gefilteria, King Kava, Uttapam & Co., The Jam Stand, and more.