February Newsletter

One month into the year and it’s off to a great start! February first saw me turn 42 years old with no signs of slowing down. I have been hard at work out foraging in the Blue Ridge Mountains and have had wonderful success. This year is seeing new connections as well, I have partnered with Mountain Sage in Hendersonville to carry tinctures and teabags, applied to do more tailgate markets this year, looking to do the LEAF festival again, confirmed a vending spot at the Floyd Herb festival in April, in Floyd, VA and continue to connect with fellow healers around our region. Though I have been stocking up pretty good on my outings, along the way I am also humbled by seeing Chaga that is just too far out of reach, I always appreciate and enjoy the hunt. Sometimes you have to stop and simply admire the ones that get away.

A beauty too high to gather

Besides Chaga, I have been gathering Turkey Tail and Birch Polypore mushrooms for tincture and tea making. These two mushrooms have similar benefits in boosting the immune system. Birch Polypore is also anti-septic and anti-fungal.

The Chaga hunt is always a special one this time of year. To me the winter is the season of Chaga and the cold weather mushrooms. I have plenty of tinctures brewing and ready to bottle soon. Everything is in stock! Along the lines of products, I will be discontinuing my Trifecta tinctures but keeping the Four Of A Kind going strong. I also have raised my prices a little for the first time ever, this is to cover sales tax, which is now included in the price. I hope everyone is healthy and happy out there!

It's a new year! Happy 2020

So it’s January and it’s a new decade! Ive been spending this winter so far out harvesting in new places. It reminds me how vast this region really is! I’ve also been making medicine and stocking up. Last year was an exciting one for me in the mushroom world and this year is looking like it will be even better. I wanted to take a minute out to say THANK YOU to everyone who supported me and my venture. Thank you to everyone that purchased tinctures, teas, dried and fresh mushrooms, thank you to everyone who came out on a mushroom and plant walk, thank you to everyone who attended one of my presentations and thank you to everyone who simply stopped by the farmers markets or dropped a line to just say hi. Last year saw the business grow and I got to meet and connect with many new people. As I dive into 2020 head first I’m looking forward to doing more markets, adding new packaging, doing more presentations and walks and spending more time out doing what I love. I can’t do any of this without the support of all those who connect with me, you all truly keep my dream and passion going and are the most important part of Blue Ridge Chaga Connection. Please stay connected and spread the word, I’m excited to have you all on this journey with me and there’s so much more to come!!

December News Letter

Although Chaga season is all year long, the winter wild crafting is in full swing. There’s fair debate on when the best time to harvest Chaga is. I have found in research that Chaga may contain the most nutrients in the winter months. This also point to Chaga taking those nutrients from the Birch tree in a time when the tree needs them most. Using sustainable methods I ensure the Chaga will regrow with the tree living longer at the same time. In the spirit of this I find myself in the forest doing what I do. The atmosphere in the colder months defines Chaga to me, it is designed to survive the harsh winter. Coated with a thick, black layer that seals in the magic Chaga contains, while protecting it from the harsh climate. Chaga only grows in the high elevations in our region where the temperature and conditions change dramatically. I resonate with the cold times of year having grown up in upstate New York and find it be refreshing, you can say I feel at home in the woods in the winter. Bringing the best, nutrient rich Chaga to my products is very important to me. This time of year is one of the most productive for me as far as foraging and making medicine is concerned, I produce the bulk of all my products during these times. Besides it being Chaga time, another favorite is thriving in the colder temperatures, Lions Mane.

Lions Mane is a cold weather mushroom, growing on the trunks of dying trees. Lions Mane has gained a lot of attention recently for it’s powerful medicinal properties and rightfully so. This mushroom has been showing amazing results in regards to cognitive function and helping to fight against Alzheimer and Dementia. It works to generate new brain cells, improving memory and focus. It also is a powerful tool when it comes to nerve damage, showing it may speed up healing. Lions Mane has other wonderful benefits such as that it is Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and has immune boosting qualities. Lions Mane lowers risk of Heart disease, cancer, ulcers and diabetes. You want more, it is showing that it can relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. I have learned the best way to get results is to eat it fresh with tinctures and powders next in line. I make tinctures from wild crafted Lions Mane in vegetable glycerin and also a double extracted alcohol base. Lions Mane can a tricky one to find, it’s not as abundant as many others. When you find a good one however it can go a long way! Might I add it tastes like crab meat is quite delicious to eat.

Here’s a few informational links: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lions-mane-mushroom#section10

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3924982/

I do have one last market of the year and would love to see all of you there, it is at the East Asheville Tail Gate holiday market, Friday, December 13th from 3-6pm. That is at 954 Tunnel road at Groce United Methodist Church. This will be inside the church. Please come out and support all of us local vendors. I am grateful for all the new and old customers that I always call friends, for all the support from those near and far. You all help to keep my dream alive and feed the passion I have to bring people healthy, healing medicine from the forest. Happy holidays to you all. I am super excited to see what the new year will bring.

November News Letter

It’s fall for a little while here in Western North Carolina and the colors are on fire. I love to be out among the trees as they shed their leaves. For me this is a time of transition, of making medicine and simply enjoying the season changes. The markets are winding down but still got a few to highlight. Black Mountain will go until November 23rd (their holiday market) and I will be there for the November 16th one. East Asheville market will have a holiday market on Friday, December 13th, from 3-6pm, inside the church. The last Burnsville, Yancey county market is Saturday, November 9th and I’ll be out there. Asheville Community Yoga will host a holiday art market on November 10th from 10 am to 6 pm, at the studio and I’ll have my table set up. And that’ll be another great tail gate market season complete, it was a pleasure as always meeting new people and sharing my knowledge and products. Thanks to everyone who came to support me and my venture!!

This months feature is the often overlooked but medicinally, wonderful Turkey Tail mushroom. This little friend is quite common all over our region. Turkey Tail love downed branches and dying tree trunks, as they are decomposes. The best way to tell if you have true Turkey Tail is the underside. It has to be white. There is false Turkey Tail, Violet Toothed Polypores and others similar to it but all those do not have the white bottoms, some really close to that. Some people use these for soup stocks or trail gum and some have showed promise of medicinal benefits. Turkey Tail come in all sorts of colors in ringed patterns on the top sides. Purples, blues, browns, grays and greens are some of those colors. They are Polypores, so no gills, instead little, tiny teeth or pores. Sometimes they can feel like sand paper. Turkey Tail is one of the most researched mushrooms in Western medicine. It is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy due to it’s immune boosting qualities, helping to rebuild the immune system after treatments. Needless to say it is Anti-Cancer. It helps the digestive system do it’s job. They are full of Anti-Oxidants, Polysaccharopeptides which are immune boosters, combat HPV, reduce inflammation, and are safe for canine cancers. The best way to consume Turkey Tail is by making a tea or tincture. Look around while hiking and I’m sure you will see them, especially this time of year. Here’s a few shots of look alikes.

Besides Turkey Tail you may still find Puffballs, of coarse the most wonderful and king, Chaga that grows all year long, Lions Mane, Blewits, Late Fall Oysters, Conks, Beefsteaks and a few others, so keep hunting!!

Hope to see ya’ll at the remaining markets. It’s the best time of year to stock up on immune boosting mushroom teas and tinctures and keep healthy all winter long. Happy fall, enjoy the beauty that is our home!