January News

It’s 2023!! Wow typing that year feels futuristic. Fun fact about me, I love to draw, the drawing above is one of mine. Winter leaves more space for me to get more creative indoors and one of my favorite forms of mediation is to sit and create art. Most every drawing contains a mushroom or ten. Over the years I have attempted and grown lions mane, oysters, shiitake and chestnut mushrooms, though I wild forage all the mushrooms I use in my products, growing can be a lot of fun and a rewarding process. Sometime in the near future I would love to have the space to grow on a larger scale, focusing on culinary mushrooms. Here’s some of my past successful grows:

Markets: For the next few months I only have one market on my schedule.

Weaverville winter market: Wednesdays 3-6 @ weaverville community center 60 Lakeshore drive. I’ll be there 1/4 and 1/18.

New product: If you came to the tailgate markets this past year, you may have bought some of my wild mushroom salt. I usually always have an excess of foraged mushrooms throughout the year, which I dehydrate and grind and mix with celtic sea salt. I use this seasoning with all my cooking. This batch I have ready to go has chanterelles, black trumpets, maitake and chicken of the wood. Available now in my shop!

Monthly Special: Ringing in the new year, 2023, with 10% off the entire store!! All tinctures, teabags and dried mushrooms will be ten percent off all month long.

So what to look for in January? Well Chaga tops the list, getting into the high elevations is a must to find my favorite mushroom. Only medicinal on the birch trees, Chaga can be found anywhere on the tree, however typically it grows higher up. Chaga is the king of medicinal mushrooms, with it’s range of amazing benefits. It’s more than important to not harvest small pieces that haven’t matured and also when you do harvest some, leaving a good percentage to regrow is also important. Also keep an eye out for Birch Polypore, another birch dwelling mushroom. Birch Polypore is an often overlooked medicinal powerhouse, great for gut health, immune system and can also make a great addition to a fire! Turkey Tails will continue into the winter months, often frozen which makes harvesting a bit tougher. Winter oysters and velvet foot/Enoki are a few edibles to look out for during winter. The velvet foot typically grows on elm trees and can be a good indicator of where you may want to look for Morels come spring!

Although winter can be cold and seem barren in the forest, it is a wonderful time to simply enjoy time in nature. I’m a man of all seasons and really enjoy being immersed in the forest no matter what time of year it is. I want to wish you all a very merry new year, I hope this year will bring whatever you strive for as well as health and happiness! I’m grateful to you all that support my small business and continue to spread the mycelium network out a little further! Mushlove in 2023…..

A year of mushrooms- 2022 Edition

Oh what a year it’s been in the mushroom foraging world for me this year! From the start to the finish, it was an excellent year for sure. Most years are pretty consistent, however every year shows different patterns. This past years the morels were great but the reishi was not as much. This year saw some great flushes of chanterelles, chickens, honeys, milkies, turkey tail and so many more, the maitake and lions mane were not as abundant as past years. All in all it was a busy time foraging mushrooms throughout the whole year. I attended my first mushroom festival and for the third year in a row I taught many groups and visited a few private homes to teach. Since all my products are made with wild foraged mushrooms, I spend the majority of my time in the forest. Each season brings a new experience and a new set of mushrooms with it. I love to watch the changes and the consistency from year to year. I’m truly blessed to spend my time among the trees, picking mushrooms, experiencing the serenity of nature and doing what I love the most! Here’s a look at the year passing by through the eyes of a wild crafter.

My first good hunts began in February, being my birthday month, I always like to do a good chaga hunt. The first couple of months of the year are slim pickins, mostly chaga, turkey tail, usnea, some jelly mushrooms and birch polypore, almost all of which grow in high elevations. For me that’s the way I like it, the high elevations have a different feel, the forest seems denser, the landscape more rocky, and of coarse the views are a bit more stunning. Winter mushroom hunting is also a solitary time, it’s quite rare that I see anyone on the trail during the winter months, at least in places further away from the city. I love the quiet, with occasional sounds of creaking trees or breaking icicles, the brisk, cold air with deep breathes and how crisp everything looks. The advantage to winter foraging is the bare trees and lack of plant coverage, the ability to see through the forest is nice, especially with chaga, which can really stand out from a distance, however sometimes, burls, broken branches, holes in the tree or dark moss can easily fool you.

Then came March and April and the season many mushroom lovers look forward to more than any other hunt, morel season! For much of my first years mushroom hunting, the morel was the ghost, I spent a lot of time searching but always coming up empty. Over the next few years I’d find a handful until I finally found a few patches I could count on every year. This year was my first real banner year finding them, but not just on my own accord, a good friend of mine, that’s been hunting morels for many years around here, invited me along for the season. My friend taught me about patterns, environments, using mapping and some strong instincts to really dial in where the elusive morels hide out. We set out early in the mornings and would spend the whole day, light to dark, searching, picking and having a blast in several different forests on the hunt. The four types of morels in our region are black, gray, blonde and half free morels. Trees are always a factor in finding morels, poplar, elm and apple trees are the top producers in the blue ridge mountains. Many mushrooms are associated with and have a relationship with different trees, this is one of the best tips I can give people. Morels take patience, lots of slow, observant steps, and although it happens, finding just one is rare, morels grow in patches, much like chanterelles, so were there is one, there’s more! It’s truly an exciting hunt and fun to see others finds in posts from around the country and locally. Out of all the mushrooms I forage, morel and chaga spots are not ones I share too much. This year I dehydrated a fair amount of morels to eat through out the year and I still have some left for christmas dinner.

May and June bring about an exciting time that moves in slowly. There’s always seems a space of time between when the morels end and the new crop of mushrooms move in. Pheasant backs are some of the first to show up, they have a strong cucumber smell and taste good when they are small, growing bitter with age and size. Corals of all kinds also begin, the crown tipped corals are the only ones I eat, many corals are tough on the digestive system and some are toxic. You may see different jelly mushrooms or cup fungus, also the very popular chicken of the woods begins it’s season, that lasts through late fall. The berkleys polypore is one that can be too tough to eat and can often fool you into thinking it’s a big chicken of the wood. Indian pipe/ghost pipe is not a mushroom but a wild flower that feeds off mushrooms, and is powerful medicine, these beauties grow in large clusters during these months. The big prize of the spring is the reishi however. Reishi is one of the most beautiful mushrooms to find, with it’s shiny, lacquered appearance, reishi is amazing medicine used and revered for much of history. Here in this region they prefer hemlock trees and grow in groups, they can grow quite large as well. This past year the reishi was not nearly as abundant as past years.

July and August are when things really get popping. This is prime time to see lots of the diversity these mountains have to offer. It’s my favorite time to take groups out. The chanterelles are a delightful mushroom to forage, with a wide range of variety, there are golden, smooth, fragrant, flame colored, peach, cinnabar and the black trumpets. They are found in big patches and the smell, color and taste are all wonderful. The milky or lactarious family can be quite prolific. Blue indigos and leatherbacks are two of the most popular and both tasty. The boletes also dominate the forest floor, with over 200 different varieties in our region, I focus on about 5-10. The old man of the wood, the shaggy stalk, the painted, the slippery Jack, many boletes are mushy and an acquired taste but fun to see, especially the ones that turn colors. The beefsteak is a unique one as you can eat it raw. Cauliflower mushroom is a delicious mushroom and hard to mistake for anything else. The russula family is a colorful one, they can be green, red, purple, yellow or brown, not the best edibles however. Lobster mushrooms are a parasitic fungi that takes over other mushrooms and become the bright orange lobster claws that hide in the pine needles. The bleeding tooth is an interesting fungi and so is cordyceps. Cordyceps, aka the zombie mushroom, infects an insects body and grows out of its brain! These little wonders are medicinal and are tricky to find, this year I found a few and couldn’t be happier about that. It takes really slowing down and observing closely. During this time it’s important to be aware of the deadly mushrooms too! The amanita family rules this realm, showing up in lots of different colors and looks. Once you become familiar with some distinctive features, it’s easy to pick them out in the wild.

September and October usher in the fall mushrooms. Hiding in colorful and fallen leaves, Maitake or hen of the wood and lions mane stand out during this time of year. Both for their medicinal benefits and for their taste. Lions mane is great for brain health and taste like seafood. Bears head tooth/comb tooth look very much like lions mane and are similar in taste and benefit. Maitake has a nutty flavor and it fights high cholesterol among other benefits. Lions mane loves beech and oak trees, Maitake is drawn to oaks. Hens are masters of disguise, blending perfectly with the foliage and surroundings. Also growing at the base of oaks are honey mushrooms, which grow in large clusters but to be eaten in small doses. Puffballs are cute little edibles. Earth stars, stalked puffballs and stink horns look like they came from outer space. Blewits are a beautiful purple color, to be foraged with caution as there are toxic purple corts. Shrimp of the woods is a parasitic mushroom that takes over honey mushrooms, they are a really good edible. The resinous polypore or steak of the woods is another good edible mushroom, typically trimming off the outer edges to sauté. Chicken of the woods is still abundant in fall, as well as other summer mushrooms hanging around. Over all fall is a great time to forage!

November and December end the year just as it began, mushroom wise that is. It’s a time revisit the high elevations or go south to find the last of lions mane. As my radar would have it, I finished the year with a foraging trip to South Carolina and found some beautiful lions mane, 5 to be exact and finding three more I couldn’t get to! Foraging chaga, turkey tail, and birch polypore here for the remainder of the year. You may find edible winter oysters or brick tops out during this time as well.

This year I also attended my first mushroom festival in Pennsylvania, I started several new collaborations that brought about chaga soap, chaga lager beer and a cbd/mushroom tincture. I attended a mushroom growing blitz, vended new markets, made some great foraging trips and made lots of new connections! It’s been a fantastic fungi year!! Can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store….

December News

Tremella fuciformis/snow fungus

December has ascended on us here in the Blue Ridge mountains, and with the last weeks of the year go the last of the years mushrooms. It’s always a little bitter sweet but also a time to reflect, to travel and the hunts not over yet, winter is a great time to go looking for Chaga! Besides mushroom hunting, the cold winter months provide a chance to embrace the season by just being immersed within it. It’s a time of rest, sometimes solitude, reflection, planning forward and a time to enjoy the moment, enjoy the connection of friends or family or people your just meeting, and of coarse the connection to nature!

Markets: My regular markets have ended for the year but here’s some upcoming events I’ll be vending at.

Weaverville Holiday Markets: Wedensdays 3-6 @weaverville community center (inside) https://weavervillemarket.com/upcoming-events/ ends the 14th. Also continues through the winter.

Salvage Station Holiday Bazaar: Sunday-December 4th from 12-4 @ Salvage station 466 riverside drive. https://salvagestation.com/events/2nd-annual-holiday-bazaar/

Holiday Gift Market: December 9th-11th, 12-6 each day @ Ella 81 broadway st downtown.

Monthly Special: This months special is on Birch Polypore and Usnea tinctures. 1oz will be $15 and 2oz will be $25. One a mushroom and the other a lichen, these two are growing in the cold months. I carry them individually and also do a blend of them together. Usnea, aka old mans beard, benefits include: fights colds and flu, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, breaks up phlegm and congestion. Birch Polypore benefits include: immune system boost, soothing the gut, provides a healthy micro-biome and deterring harmful organisms.

Not everything has gone into hiding. Turkey Tail in all it’s many colors will continue to grow, Birch Polypore and Chaga can be found in high elevations on birch trees, and Usnea drips off the trees almost anywhere, however collecting it also in high elevations is better as it collects heavy metals in more polluted areas. You may also come across winter Oysters, which have a goldish tint and can get pretty big. Lastly is the brick top mushroom, which is edible but needs caution as the sulphur tuft and other members of that family, are toxic. There’s always other interesting fungi out, polypores, slime molds, and such and sometimes just seeing those and admiring the whole mycelium network can a joyful experience. In that spirit I’d like to wish everyone a very happy holidays and a merry new year! I wish everyone to be in great health, to be happy and feel light in your steps and can’t wait to see what 2023 shale bring us in the mushroom kingdom and beyond.

November News

November is here and it may be safe to say it is the gate way to winter. The beginning of this month may be the last chance to gather what’s left in the forest for the fall mushrooms. Some Maitake, Chickens, puffballs, and Lions Mane should be hanging around for a few more weeks. Many people ask me what I do during the winter months, and the answer is that I still forage a good bit, I forage some Chaga, Turkey Tail and Birch Polypore during this time, winter hiking is essential for me as staying in the house is not something I do a lot! It’s also a time for tincture and product making and simply stocking up with inventory. There will some holiday markets happening this month and next which will be listed in this newsletter. It’s been an amazing year for just about every mushroom I encountered with big, abundant flushes, I also got to teach many classes and I foraged enough to keep stocked until the season begins again. I do not teach any classes in the winter months, with the exception of a rare Chaga walk here and there. One good tip for any foragers out there is that through out the year it’s a good idea to dehydrate some of your findings to use later, making wild mushroom soups, chilis or simply adding some sautéed mushrooms to your winter meals is wonderful. I dehydrate all through out the year and look forward to adding morels, chanterelles, hens, milkies, trumpets and others I’ve collected into my winter dishes.

Markets:

Ferment FestivalSunday November 6th from 11-5 @ Madison county fairgrounds

Enka/Candler Holiday MarketNovember 12th and 13th 11-6 on Saturday and 11-4 on Sunday @ ABTech 1465 Sandhill rd, Candler, NC

East Asheville Tailgate 11/4, 11/11 and 11/18, Fridays from 3-6 @ 954 tunnel rd Asheville

Yancey County Tailgate11/5 from 9-12:30 downtown Burnsville.

Mars Hill Tailgate11/19 from 10-1 @college st Mars Hill

Weaverville winter marketAll month on Wednesdays from 3-6 at Weaverville community center. 60 Lakeshore drive

New Collaboration:

In new news, I started a collaboration with House of Brandtracts: https://brandstracts.com/ I’m pretty excited to work with these guys! We’ve come together to create two blends of tinctures. The Big Brain Blend-Lions Mane, Cordyceps, Maitake and CBD and The F#@k Cancer Blend– Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail and CBD. Combining medicinal mushrooms with CBD seems a natural choice. These tinctures will be hitting the market very soon!

Monthly Special:

The monthly special for November is $10 off Lions Mane tinctures. 1oz will be $20 and 2oz $30. Wild foraged from the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lions Mane offers a range of great benefits including: Cognitive health/boost, improving memory and focus, helps fight depression/anxiety, cancer fighting properties, anti-inflammatory, speeding up nerve damage recovery, reduces heart disease risk, improves stomach health, and immune system boost.

Time is running out on the mushroom hunting for the year for many of us. I will continue to forage through out the winter, mostly hunting Chaga and Turkey Tail. Here in our region there’s still time to go find Honey, Hen, Chicken of the wood, Shrimp of the woods, Puffball, Blewit, Lions Mane and Turkey Tail mushrooms. With the leaves changing colors and falling off the trees, the hunting becomes more challenging, as the mushrooms blend in and hide.

Be on the look out for the Resinous Polypore also! It’s a tasty one…

https://foragerchef.com/resinous-polypore-ischnoderma-resinosum/

October News

Bears Head Tooth/Comb Tooth

Fall has always been one of my favorite times of the year, ever since I was little I can remember loving going out in a world splashed with vivid colors. Fall makes for some great, yet challenging mushroom hunting. Summer spoils us with a wonderful abundance of many different kinds of mushrooms, fall on the other hand gives us a few great ones but they are harder to find. I’ll give out some helpful tips on how to find what’s out there now later in the newsletter.

Oct 7th from 6-9

Markets:

East Asheville Tailgate– Fridays 3-6 @ 954 tunnel rd I’ll be there 10/14 and 10/21

Yancey County Farmers Market– Saturdays 8:30-12:30 Downtown Burnsville I’ll be there 10/8 and 10/15

Axe and Awl-Art after dark– Friday 10/7 from 6-9 @ 41 depot st, Waynesville

Monthly Special: In honor of the appearance of the Hens, this month both 1 oz and 2 oz Maitake tinctures will be $10 off. Maitake-Hen of the woods-dancing mushroom is not only a super delightful edible wild mushroom, it’s also very medicinal! Maitake has been in studies and showed promise against and recovering from covid. It boosts immune support, lowers risk of heart disease and lowers cholesterol, attacks cancerous tumors, helps manage diabetes, and is high in vitamin D, which can help increase energy.

This month will see some amazing mushrooms popping out. Honey mushrooms are some you can find in force. There are ringed and ringless Honey mushrooms, the veil is the distinguishing factor between them. They grow in large clusters, usually at the base of dying trees. Honey stems strip apart like string cheese and are white inside. Maitake, aka hen of the wood, aka, the dancing mushroom, is truly one of the best culinary mushrooms in taste and also holds much medicinal benefit. Hens are usually always found at the base of large oak trees and are masters at blending in. Lions Mane and Bears Head Tooth/Comb Tooth can be found growing on dying beech or oak trees, sometimes birch. This family of mushrooms has shown great benefits for the brain, as well as numerous other benefits. Also are really good tasting, comparable to seafood. Chicken of the wood will last into this month, as well as beefsteak, puffballs, blewits and shrimp of the wood. Shrimps have a special relationship with Honey mushrooms, very similar to Lobster mushrooms where they take over the honeys and evolve into the puffy shrimps, edible and delicious! The variety of Reishi, Ganoderma Curtisii, which are known for their long stems and purplish blue color, can also be found this month and are equally medicinal to other Reishi species. Here’s some links for cooking these varieties:

https://foragerchef.com/entoloma-abortivum-aborted-entoloma-mushroom/

https://nutritiousmushrooms.com/best-way-to-cook-lions-mane-mushrooms/

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/how-to-cook-maitake-mushrooms

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/honey-mushroom-recipe

Lastly I wanna give a spotlight to one of my students, her name is Lindsey Spratt and she is a top notch photographer! Lindsey has joined several of my mushroom tours and specializes in mushroom and nature photography. Her work can found on her facebook page: Breathing Gaia Photography.

Hope you get out on the parkway or other mountain roads and enjoy the fall foliage which should be popping in the higher elevations now and soon taking over everywhere!

September News

Here we go into fall. Things are cooling down in the Blue Ridge Mountains as we move into September, but the mushrooms will go on! Many summer mushrooms will continue into the month such as Chanterelles, Boletes, Milkies, Chickens and others. There will also be a new set coming up, Honey mushrooms, Maitake (hen of the wood), Blewits, shrimp of the wood and Lions Mane to name a few. Fall can be a truly refreshing time to be in the forest, with cooler temps in the air and bright colors on the trees. Lots to look forward still. I’ll be continuing mushroom tours and home visits into this month, typically is the last month I do them for the year.

***I will be traveling in the middle of the month for a week and a half and some orders may be delayed. ***

Exciting new product collaboration! I teamed up with Midge from Mudhouse Farm Soaps to offer a Chaga infused soap! She has made a master blend of organic ingredients such as Coconut, olive, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, rosemary and melissa essential oils. These are now for sale at the markets when I vend, also in my shop page here on the website. I’ve been using them and love it, no more regular soap for me! Bars are $7.

Markets:

4M Festival in Slyva: 9/3 https://www.jacksonartsmarket.com/about-4

East Asheville: I’ll be there 9/2, 9/9 and 9/30

Burnsville/Yancey County: 9/10 only

Monthly Special: This months special is $10 off all Cordyceps tinctures. I have double extracted and vegetable glycerin Cordyceps tinctures in 1oz or 2oz. The variety is Cordyceps Militaris. Cordyceps has a long history in medicinal use around the globe, especially in Asia. Here’s a clip of Paul Staments talking Corcyceps: https://youtu.be/wRwtxGoL_-A

Benefits include: Brain function and health, Anti-Cancer and Anti-Aging properties, help fight diabetes, immune system boost, helps endurance athletes, improves sexual function, improves liver and kidney function.

These are just some what’s happening in the forest now. Turkey Tail is a personal favorite medicinal, as well as Lions Mane. These two fight cancer, and are a true gift to find and forage. Both will grow into fall for the next few months. Chanterelles will grow into the first few weeks of this month. Chicken of the Wood and Puffballs will be here through the month. The Boletes and Milkies should also stick around for a bit. The Blewits are good but should be taken with caution, it does have a close look alike called a violet cort which are a bit smaller, the side by side pictures are above and you can see how close they look alike! Corals as a family are mostly edible, yellow coral should always be avoided, the crown tipped are the only ones I eat in small quantities, as a family they are known to cause digestive issues. I quick reminder on the Boletes is that most are edible but taste rather bitter, there’s about six or seven good edible varieties and I always say to stay away from blue staining ones, even though there a few edible blue staining ones (just not worth it). And new on the scene will be Honey mushrooms! These are delicious and grow in large clusters, there are ringed and ringless varieties.

My plant of the month is Rattlesnake Plantain. Tea made with roots is used for snake bites, leaf tea mixed with whiskey is used for improving appetite, treat colds, kidney ailments, blood tonic and tooth aches. It’s actually an Orchid and has a stem of tiny orchids that shoot out of the middle.

Happy September all, embrace the fall as she comes and get out in the woods!

August News

August is one of the most abundant months for the most variety of wild, edible mushrooms here in the Blue Ridge mountains. Chanterelles, milky mushrooms, Boletes, Corals, shrimp of the wood (pictured above), Chickens, Polypores, Lobsters and many more will be lighting up the forest floor with vivid colors in all shapes and sizes. Finding them can be the easy part, but knowing which are edible, which taste good and which could be your last meal is the tricky part. I encourage folks I meet to get with someone who knows, an expert or long time forager, to help you learn. ID books are great and internet resources are wildly available but both leave room for error, getting in the woods, touching, smelling and seeing mushrooms first hand is the way I learned and pass that knowledge along to those who seek it.

***I will be gone the first two weeks of this month but will resume tours, deliveries and markets when I return. I’ll be at Mycofest in Pennsylvania!!

Super excited to announce the opening of Whaley Farm Brewery. Chris and Jessica are two of the sweetest friends of mine. Their brewery in Old Fort, NC, is a great spot to hang out. Master brewer Chris Whaley has created some wonderful brews, on top of the list is the chaga lager! It’s a delicious earthy lager, made with chaga I forgaed! Highly recommend you go by there and say hi to some nice people and grab a chaga lager sometime.

Markets:

East Asheville Tailgate: Fridays 3-6 at 954 Tunnel rd. I’ll be 8/19 and 8/26.

Yancey County Market: Saturday 8:30-12:30, Downtown Burnsville 8/20 only

Mars Hill Market: Saturday 10-1 college st, Mars Hill 8/27 only

Enka/Candler: Thursday 3-6 8/18

Monthly Special: This months special is $10 off 1oz and 2oz Shiitake tinctures. Shiitake has a long history of medicinal and culinary use, and is easily one of the most popular of all the mushrooms. They contain compounds with anti-cancer properties, boost the immune system, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, and help to strengthen bones. Here’s a good article on the benefits: https://www.organicfacts.net/shiitake-mushrooms.html

Also in honor of her birthday, Sara from Ancient Alchemy, the maker of Chaga Magic shea butter, would like to offer 20% off Chaga Magic, which will be $17.00 all month.

This month I wanted to highlight some of the different varieties out now. The snow fungus is one of the more unusual ones in this group, it has a very clear, white appearance, it’s edible and a part of the jelly family of mushrooms, and it’s very pretty! Another jelly mushroom is witches butter, a yellow little morsel you can enjoy raw. The beefsteak is another raw edible, it has a tomato, zingy flavor, I love to marinate these in balsamic vinegar and eat them cold. The black trumpets are a true delight to find, these small black mushrooms look like a cross between a trumpet and a flower and are in the chanterelle family. I often like to make a salt with them. Shrimp of the woods are a rather unusual one, as they take two forms often at the same time. The white curled up masses have a nice flavor to them. The blue indigo milkies are an exciting one to find and are tasty to boot. This year I’ve truly embraced the black staining polypore, or rooster of the woods, and I have seen many huge flushes. They stain black on the edges and on your fingers when picking. The taste is complex, as described by a chef. Much of the mushroom is tough and woody, but you can sauté the edges and the rest makes a really nice broth. Here’s a great article about them: https://foragerchef.com/the-black-staining-polypore-meripilus-sumstinei/

The last two pictures are of Amanitas, the deadliest of all the mushrooms in our area. Amanitas come in all shapes, sizes, colors and take on many looks (varieties), all should be left alone. All Amanitas have bulbs at the base, which is an easy way to tell them apart from other mushrooms.

This months plant highlight is stinging nettle. It has very toothed or jagged leaves and along the stems and leaves are tiny stinging hairs, you’ve probably brushed up against these before and felt the sting and itch. The stinging is actually medicinal and can be used to help relieve joint pains by simply tapping them on the joints that hurt. The leaves can be eaten but only after boiling the stingers off and are full of nutrients. Happy August all!

July News

Summer time! So it begins, the best couple months of mushroom hunting ahead. A wide variety of different mushrooms have begun to emerge, bringing a colorful landscape to the forest floor. One of my favorites is the Chanterelle. The color, aroma, texture and taste of these little gems makes them one of the more sought after edible wild mushrooms. There are five types that grow in our region and I’ll talk about those at the end of the newsletter. I absolutely love the Forager Chef and this is a great blog on cooking Chanterelles: https://foragerchef.com/chanterelle-mushrooms/

Markets this month:

East Asheville Tailgate: Every Friday 3-6 at 954 Tunnel rd. I will be there every week except 7/15.

Enka/Candler Tailgate: Thursdays 3-6 at 1465 sand hill rd, Candler. I’ll be there 7/7 and 7/21

Mars Hill Tailgate: Saturday 10-1 on College st. I will be there 7/16 only.

Yancey County Tailgate: Saturdays 8:30-12:30 in downtown Burnsville. I will be there 7/2, 7/9, 7/23 and 7/30

Highland Brewing Meadow Market: Sunday 12-5 at Highland Brewing. I will be there 7/10

**Market dates are subject to change sometimes, I keep my social media updated week by week.

Monthly Special: This months special is on Chaga half and full pounds. $10 off both, half pounds will be $25 and full pounds $40. This is a great chance to bulk up on your Chaga stock. Chaga is used to make tea and can be a base for broths and stocks. Chaga benefits include- Anti-inflammatory, immune system regulator, anti-oxidant, digestive aid, cancer fighter, contains many vitamins and minerals, and skin health.

Indian Pipe tinctures are back in stock!

Above is a portion of what you might see growing this month. All these pictured are edible and delicious. As I begin leading walks, these are just some of what we will see out there. Boletes and Milkies are two families that contain many varieties, boletes have pores on the underside of the caps instead of gills and milkies lactate from the gills, there are a few toxic varieties in each family! The five types of Chanterelles are-smooth, fragrant, cinnabar, peach, flame colored and the black trumpet is also a chanterelle. Each of these is pretty different in look. When hunting Chanterelles the look alike most associated to them are called Jack O Lanterns, the color can be similar but jacks have gills, grow in clusters and get quite large, and their gills glow green in the dark! Chanterelle caps always seem to have a wavy pattern, almost like a flower, they also have an attached gill pattern that is quite different from the gills of Jacks, sometimes with no gills present at all.

Coming soon is a new product! I’ve collaborated with a local soap maker that is crafting a Chaga soap. This will be a welcome addition to using Chaga in a skin care product. Chaga has shown to be wonderful for keeping skin healthy, keeping wrinkles at bay, adding pigment to your skin, protection against UV rays and helping certain skin conditions. More details coming soon.

Jewelweed

The plant of the month to know is called Jewelweed. The small flowers can be yellow or orange, the stems hollow and juicy with a reddish base and the leaves lobed. This plant is amazing for many reasons, but most importantly for helping relieve poison ivy rashes. Any time I’ve a brush with the ivy I seek out Jewelweed. Simply crushing up the whole plant and rubbing on it the infected area makes a huge difference! There are soaps, salves and rub on sticks made with this plant for that purpose.

I wish everyone happy hunting out there, keep hoping for some more rain to get those mushrooms popping!

Mushroom Tours

It’s finally time to get out and do some mushroom identification! The end of June straight through the fall is prime time for mushrooms in our region. I have a passion for sharing knowledge and I’m excited get in the woods and do just that. On my tours you’ll learn a variety of edible wild mushrooms, how to identify them and feel comfortable picking them on your own. You will also learn toxic and deadly varieties, along with some of the great medicinal and edible plants. With over 2,000 different kinds of mushrooms in our forests, it’s impossible to learn them all, as some haven’t even been identified yet! You can expect to learn some of these on a typical walk, but not guaranteed as it depends on what we find.

Edible/Medicinal: Chanterelles (6 types), Chicken of the Wood, Oyster, Boletes, Milky mushrooms, Russulas, Jelly, Hen of the Wood, Shrimp of the Wood, Turkey Tail, Reishi, Lobster, Honeys, Beef Steak, Cauliflower, Hedgehog, Puffball, Berkeleys Polypore and Lions Mane.

Toxic/Poisonous: Amanitas, Jack O Lanterns, Sickeners, Pecks, Pepper Caps, Deadly Galerina, Satans Bolete.

Plants: Mullein, Solomons Seal, Indian Pipe, Indian Cucumber, Pipsissewa, Partridge Berry, Mayapple, Green Briar, Rattlesnake Plantain, Broad Leaf Plantain, Jewel Weed, Clover, Nettle, Sassafras, Heal All, Cohosh, Galax, Blood Root, Chickweed, Yarrow, Horse Mint, Bear Corn

Tours last about an hour and a half and cost $45 per person. The hikes are a mile or two total and not strenuous. Kids are half price. All participants will be required to sign a waiver. Locations vary but are typically no more than 20-25 mins from Asheville. I will inspect mushrooms collected along the way at the end of the hike and you can take home what is safe to eat. I also offer home visits, where I walk your property with you for a cost of $55/hr.

Currently I am taking reservations for the week of June 27th-July 1st. My availability is quite flexible. If unseen events happen such as thunder showers, overly dry conditions, emergencies, etc, rescheduling is not a problem. You will pay in person on the day of the tour. The best way to set up a tour is contacting me via email: blueridgechaga@gmail.com or text message 828-423-3875. Please include your name and how many in your group. I will be scheduling walks on a week by week basis. I will be out of town at the beginning of August for a few weeks so no walks during that time. I can’t wait to see some of you out in the woods!!

June News

It’s June already and with it comes one of my favorite mushroom hunts, Reishi! This medicinal wonder grows extremely well in our region and can be found on hemlock and pine trees. Also known as the mushroom of immortality and the queen of medicinal mushrooms, Reishi has been used medicinally for centuries and is one of the most recognizable mushrooms in the forest. They start growing in May, bubbling up on the trees, but shouldn’t be harvested until the caps turn completely red, by then they would of dropped their spores and developed maximum medicinal potency. The soft, white/yellow outer edges of the Reishi can be sautéed and eaten and have a good flavor in my opinion. Along with Reishi, many other wonderful mushrooms will be showing up this month including chicken of the wood, pheasant backs (dryads saddle), and towards the middle to end of the month, chanterelles.

June is an exciting month for me as I finally get to start my mushroom tours again! I’ve had many of you sign up with emails expressing interest, as the mushrooms start to appear I’ll be reaching out with availabilities, on that note drop me an email with what the best days that work for you during the month so I can work you in as I get started. Walks will be scheduled on a week by week basis.

I also come to you, doing walks on your property, so if you are interested in that and have seen different mushrooms popping up on your property, feel free to reach out. Walks are $45 a person and last about an hour and a half. Home visits are $55/hr.

Markets this month:

East Asheville tailgate Fridays 3-6 at 954 tunnel rd, Parking lot of Groce United Methodist church. 6/3, 6/10 and 6/24

Lester Market Wednesdays 3-6 at the Leicester community center. 6/1 and 6/22

Yancey County market Saturdays 8:30-12:30 in downtown Burnsville town square 6/4 and 6/25

Mars Hill market Saturdays 10-1 at college st in Mars Hill 6/18

Enka/Candler market Thursdays 3-6 at 1465 sand hill rd AB Tech campus 6/9,6/16 and 6/30

HEEAL market Saturday 6/11 from 2-6 at One World brewing west 520 Haywood rd

Meadow Market Sunday 6/5 from 12-5 at Highland Brewery 12 Old Charlotte hwy

Cursus Keme Brewery Market 6/2 3-8 pm at 155 Thompson st Asheville

Dates are subject to change at my regular market so please keep an eye on my social media posts to be updated week by week!

****Inventory Update: I’m out of stock on Indian Pipe tinctures, I will be restocked in July, as they start growing this month, tinctures will be in process. If your interested in being notified when they are back in stock just drop me a line and I will put you on the waiting list.

Monthly Special: $10 off all Reishi tinctures and $5 off Reishi teabags.

Reishi has a wide range of benefits including boosting the immune system, fighting cancer, calming the nervous system, improving gut health, lowering blood pressure, improving heart health, helping to manage allergies (much needed right now), improves liver and kidney function and helping the body to detox.

New Products: I have a limited supply of dried Lions Mane. $12 an ounce. They can be rehydrated to eat or used in teas and coffees. Also Lions Mane premade teabags, 4 teabags for $15, each teabag makes 1 quart of tea to be used twice. Lions Mane is one of the more researched medicinal mushrooms currently, especially for cognitive and heart health, helping mild depression and anxiety, speeding up recovery from nerve damage, anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties.

Also in New things coming, I’ve teamed up with some good friends who are opening a new brewery in Old Fort!! Whaley Farm brewery will opening this summer and master brewer Chris Whaley has been creating magic things, he will be adding my wild foraged Chaga to a beer, to be dubbed the ‘Chaga Lager’ and I can’t wait to try it!!