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!!

A few things arriving on the scene this month are fawn mushrooms, edible but forgettable. Pheasant back/dryads saddle, a tasty mushroom that smells of cucumbers, eat only when young, as they grow large they are too tough to eat. Indian pipe/ghost pipe, an absolute favorite medicinal wildflower that feeds off mushrooms, great for pain relief, headaches, and sleep issues. Oysters, of coarse a wonderful edible mushroom. Chicken of the wood, most mushroom consumers love this one and it’s a true delight to find. Umbrella Polypore, is a choice edible cluster of mushrooms, they are polypores, so pores instead of gills. Reishi, pictured above in early stages, not to harvest until completely red. Coral mushrooms are popping, these I typically stay away from as they are hard on your digestive tract, however the white crown tipped corals are one the easier ones on the system and are pretty good. Some greenery growing is wild ginger, with heart shaped leaves, you want to get to the root to be used for teas. Also sassafras, you can eat the leaves in a salad when they are young and lime green, the bark and roots were once used to make root beer and you can enjoy as a tea. The three different leaves are an easy identifier, the ghost, the mitten and the simple lobe. Lastly the Chanterelles that will be later in the month, another choice edible mushroom.

pink lady slipper

May News

From the April showers will be the May flowers, more morels, and pheasant back mushrooms and a personal favorite green, ramps! It’s so nice to take a walk in the forest at this time, the neon green leaves on the poplar trees, the flowering bloodroots, trilliums, showy orchards, jack in the pulpits and trout lilies. Mother earth is in bloom as we celebrate all the mothers out there including her. Tail gate market season is back in full swing, along with festivals and warm weather, I’ll be all over the place this month!

Markets this month:

East Asheville: https://www.eastashevillemarket.com/ All month on Fridays 3-6pm

Lester Market: https://www.facebook.com/Leicester-Farmers-Market-220235964749303/ I’ll Announce week of: Wednesdays 3:30-6:30pm

Enka/Candler: http://ashevillefarmstead.org/enka-candler-tailgate-market/

5/12 Thursdays 3-6pm

Highland Brewing Meadow Market: https://highlandbrewing.com/event/meadow-market-2/2022-05-01/ Sundays 12-5pm I’ll be there 5/8

Mars Hill: http://marshillmarket.org/ Saturday 5/7 10-1pm

Yancey County: https://www.facebook.com/yanceymarket Saturdays 8:30-12:30pm

I’ll be there 5/28

HEEAL Market: One World Brewing West Saturday 5/14 2-6pm https://oneworldbrewing.com/event/heeal-market-healing-with-earth-experience-art-love-2022-05-14/

Trust General Store and Cafe: Saturday 5/21 11-3pm 14535 Nc 209 Hwy, Corner of highways 209 and 63. Town also known as Trust or Spring Creek., Hot Springs, NC 28743 Season Opener Celebration! We’ll have live music, archery, vendors, a Covid vaccine clinic, line dancing, and more!

Monthly Special: Mullein Double Extracted Tinctures are $10 off, 1oz will be $15 and 2oz $25. Mullein is a beautiful, fuzzy plant that gets quite large and can be found on a lot of mountain hillsides. It’s wonderfully medicinal with benefits including: improving asthma, coughs, upper respiratory infections and flu. I like taking the tinctures and drinking the tea with fresh leaves and flowers. https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-benefits-of-mullein-89575

So many wonders coming to life this month. Pheasant Back mushrooms are a favorite in look, smell and taste for me. Resembling the tail of a Pheasant, these mushrooms are polypores (no gills) with white undersides and a strong scent of cucumber. They are best when young and tender, as they fan out they can get tough to eat, I love mine in an omelet. There is still time to go pick some Morels, I’m guessing a week or two left in the season this month, more likely in higher elevations, it’s been an amazing year for them. Ramps, or wild leeks are a strong tasting spring delight. They are considered over harvested in some places so it’s best to leave the bulbs as much as possible, taking only stems and leaves. Ramp season is only one short month long. I love these in omelets again, but here’s some other ideas: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/ramps-recipes

Ramp Pesto is really good!: https://adamantkitchen.com/ramp-pesto/

Another great spring edible plant is Indian Cucumber, the whorled pattern to leaves give it away and at the root is a small treat, a tiny cucumber. Garlic Mustard is a common edible green that has a nice spicy snap to it, I eat the leaves raw or throw them into a sauté. Fiddle heads are a tasty edible but with caution. Not all fern fiddle heads are edible and some can be toxic! Getting to know which is which is important. Here’s a short guide: https://fearlesseating.net/fiddleheads/

It wont be long until Reishis start to bubble up on the trees and lots of other wild edible and medicinal mushrooms as well.

April News

So it’s finally here, after a long winters wait, spring has sprung and all the little treasures have started popping out. Morel season can be wonderful or it can drive you crazy. When you find these little beauties, it’s a true delight but when you search and search and come up empty, it can be frustrating. Now of coarse the true blessing is simply being out in the splendor of nature, seeing the new buds on the trees and flowers opening up their petals welcoming in the first blooms of the year. My first couple of attempts to find morels wasn’t very fruitful, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I began dialing in all the key indicators, the right trees (ash and poplar), the right soil temps (5 days at 55), the right kinds of soil (sandy, soft) and for me at least there’s always a water source close by. I’ve learned how they move over the season, from lower to higher elevations and it starts with the black and the gray morels and moves into the blondes. It’s a special and highly prized mushroom, in it’s unique flavor but more over how well they hide makes for a truly meditative hunt. Often times you must sit and observe the landscape, or slowly crawl along the forest floor. This year they began to show around the 23rd of March and they should still be flushing through a few weeks of this month. The other element that makes them so special is that it’s such a short window to find them and then…poof…they are gone! I’ll talk more about morels and give some good resources at the end of this blog.

Monthly Special: This months special is $10 off Usnea tincures. Unfortunately subvariants of this virus are still looming around us, mixed with allergies makes for bad time for many of us. Usnea is a lichen, which is a cross between fungi and moss. It grows abundantly in many parts of the country but it’s especially important to collect it away from any high pollution areas, as it is like a sponge. As we move from winter into spring, our bodies transition accordingly. I have Usnea double extracted tinctures in 1 and 2oz sizes, also a blend of Birch polypore and Usnea together (only available in 2oz), which are also on sale!

Benefits of Usnea (old mans beard) include:

Helping to treat-HPV, kidney problems, coughs, indigestion, colds, fever, flu, weight gain and showing promise with certain cancers. Usnea is especially good for respiratory and urinary issues, throat and phlegm issues as well. It treats the common cold as a tea and tincture or even eaten fresh. Here’s a resourceful article on it: https://howtocure.com/usnea-benefits/

Markets this month: The season of tail gate markets is upon us. Here’s where I’ll be this month…

East Asheville: At 954 Tunnel rd at Groce United Methodist church. I’ll be at opening day 4/1, and I’ll be there every Friday this month! https://www.eastashevillemarket.com/

Lester: At the Leicester community center on Wedensdays 3:30-6:30, I’ll be at opening day 4/13, 4/20 and 4/27 https://www.facebook.com/lesterfarmersmarket

Mars Hill: At College st. in Mars Hill, Saturdays 10-1….I will be here once a month, 4/9 this month. http://marshillmarket.org/

Yancey County: At 6 town square in Burnsville. Saturdays 8:30-12:30. Opening day is 4/23, and I’ll also be there 4/30. https://yanceycountyfarmersmarket.wordpress.com/

To start with here’s two great resources in your hunt for morels. https://www.greencastonline.com/tools/soil-