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-temperature this site will give you the average ground temps in your area over a five day period, as mentioned before the average temperature your looking for is around 55 degrees. Every year is different and this year the season started in our region around March 22nd or so. The second resource is, https://www.thegreatmorel.com/, this site lets you see a map of reported morel sightings throughout the country, along with great pictures, recipes and more.

I might add it’s helpful to have a friend that is dialed in! My good friend and foraging partner turned my whole perspective around by taking me to some of his spots, I feel quite lucky to have such a friend. He has fine tuned into a perfect combination of environment and timing and his eye is on point.

When I first started hunting I had no idea where to look, the first two spots I discovered, one was by complete accident of almost stepping on one and then finding a bunch more and the other spot was gifted to me from a friend that gave me a precise location. Over the years I’ve learned the environment, conditions and the right trees all are important parts of finding morels.

There is a false morel and in the pictures above you can see it’s very different in appearance, I call it the ugly morel. Another way to tell true from false morels is cutting them open, true morels are hollow, where as false morels are not. The half free morel is an interesting one, with an unusual cap. These ones are just as tasty as the others.

Lastly another early mushroom making it’s appearance soon is the pheasant back. These are edible and taste great but only when small, as they get bigger they get tough and bitter. These are polypore mushrooms with pores instead of gills and are white on the bottom. They have a scent of cucumber. To me they are one of the prettiest mushrooms. Finding pheasants usually indicts that the morels have left for the year.

Happy hunting out there, hope your enjoying the spring and all the little wonders peeking out.

March News

Wild Cordyceps mushroom

Spring is at our door step at last! With it comes the excitement of the mushroom season ahead. Some locals are predicting Morels will be here at the end of this month, personally it’s one of my favorite but most challenging hunts. I’ve spent the last month foraging Turkey Tail, Birch Polypore and Chaga, as well as making new tinctures and researching new markets. I’ve had some people ask me about mushroom tours, I will restart these walks in June. This month I’ll be featuring a most unique mushroom called Cordyceps or also known as the zombie mushroom.

Markets: I’m excited to be a part of the Weaverville winter market this year, which happens Wednesdays at 60 Lakeshore drive, the community center in Weaverville. I’ll be vending this market 3/2, 3/16, 3/23 and 3/30. All other markets will begin next month.

Monthly Special: All Cordyceps tinctures are $10 off. Available in double extracted alcohol and single extracted vegetable glycerin, also double extracted Cordyceps/CBD blend. Made with locally sourced CBD flower from Other Side Hemp Company, here in Leicester, NC. I use locally sourced Cordyceps Militaris mushroom.

Cordyceps is called the zombie mushroom as it literally takes over various insects, from caterpillars to ants, and fills their bodies with mycelium, eventually bursting from their brains and creating a fruiting body! It’s quite wild and unusual. They grow in all parts of the world, for us in this region late summer and fall are god times to look for them. Often along mossy stream banks.

Cordyceps have a range of wonderful benefits including: boosting energy and endurance, protecting heart health, regulating respiratory function, strengthens the immune system, promotes kidney health, improves libido, anti-tumor and anti-aging properties.

Here’s some great resources on Cordyceps to check out:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/cordyceps

https://www.herbaffair.com/blogs/blog/top-11-health-benefits-of-cordyceps

New Products: I’m pretty excited to offer tee shirts, long sleeve tee shirts, tote bags, mugs and hoodies at last! If you love my logo, or want to support my business by wearing it around, check out my new offerings…..

Foraging is one of the best parts of having a mushroom business. This time of year is all about getting out and getting back in the groove, adding a few miles every time out. I have to say the app, All Trails, is amazing, tons of great trails, track mileage, drop pins and download maps for offline use. Some fun mushrooms popping out now are the Jellies, Witches Butter (pictured above) are a raw edible, tasteless gummy bears, I call them. Also Wood Ears which go great in sautés and stir fry’s, by themselves are quite bland but soak up seasonings and spices nicely.

Lastly, Coming soon to forest near you I hope………..

February News

It’s my birth-day month! To celebrate I’m heading out of town for the coast, making my way to Holden beach and some needed time out of town to relax and mark my 44th year of life. This winter has brought lots of reflection, times of needed change and adventures foraging winter mushrooms. I’ve been spending time learning more about growing mushrooms at home, making new products, taking workshops on growing my small business and doing some art. As I turn forty four, I am grateful for where my journey has brought me, diving further into my passion of learning as much as I can about the natural world and sharing that knowledge. I’m grateful to do what I love everyday and grateful to all the people that support me along the way!

Monthly Special: For this month the special is on Indian Pipe tinctures. 1oz tinctures will be $15 and 2oz tinctures will be $25.

Also known as ghost pipe, Monotropa uniflora, is actually a wild flower that feeds off mushrooms and can’t exist without them, making for a wonderful collaboration. Indian Pipe is a sedative, helping with sleep, as well as a pain reliver, both physical and emotional pain, it also helps relieve migraine headaches. The latin name for this plants means, ‘one turn, one flower’, and the ghost pipe comes from it’s appearance, the petals are translucent and it has a ghostly look on the forest floor. To me Indian Pipe is as special as it comes and should be treated with care and reverence when harvested. Listed as rare by some sources, it’s important to not over harvest these beauties. Taking one or two from a larger cluster is a good practice. Indian Pipe is also a strong medicine and should be taken as so, small amounts to start with and with less frequency then most tinctures. Another helpful tip is only forage them when they are drooped over, looking like a pipe, once they stand straight up the medicinal goodness is gone. When tinctured they go from white to a deep purplish/black color and the taste is something like a mocha.

I love this folk lore about it: http://backwoodsadventures.org/blog/2017/9/7/indian-pipe-legend

I’ve shared this article before but I want to repeat it: https://wisdomoftheplantdevas.com/2019/10/04/ghost-pipe-a-hauntingly-rare-plant-for-physical-and-emotional-pain/

Coming this month and ready in about a weeks time is a new product, Shiitake double extracted tincture. Shiitake has been used for hundreds of years and is one of the most cultivated and popular types of mushrooms to eat. As medicine, Shiitake fights obesity and helps with weight loss, supports immune function, kills cancer cells, contains antimicrobial properties and boosts energy and brain function! Back in stock is my Usnea and also the combo Usnea/Birch Polypore double extracted tinctures and I’ll be adding Birch Polypore by itself also. Another new product I added to my shop and ready to order is Cordyceps/CBD combo, the CBD was provided locally by Other side Hemp Company in Leicester, NC, this will be in a double extracted tincture! So stay connected if your interested.

Lastly I was featured on Foraged website! I was asked to write about Chaga and was more than happy to do just that. Foraged is a great site for wild foraged mushrooms around the country, you can find my products there also.

I hope everyone is staying safe and staying healthy out there! Happy February to you all!

My dog Luna loving the snow (:

January News

A very merry and happy new year to all, 2022!! I’ve been busy the last few months out foraging Chaga, Turkey Tail and Birch Polypore, some of which shall be made into wonderful medicine over the next three months, while the rest will be dried and stored. The beginning of a new year has me reflecting on the one gone by and in the world of mushrooms, it was a great year once again. I was overjoyed to create some new products and work with some other local makers in collaboration and community! 2022 has me excited to continue to do more of the same, with the goal to join new markets, appear in more shops and teach more folks about the wonderful world of fungi.

One of the new products I’ll be rolling out this year is a Shiitake mushroom tincture. Shiitake has a long history as a medicinal mushroom, revered and used in Japan and China for centuries. It’s believed the spores spread from China throughout Asia long ago, carried on the typhoon winds. It’s considered an aphrodisiac and is a symbol of youthfulness and virility in Chinese culture. Of coarse they are a wonderful edible but taken as a medicine Shiitake offer the benefits of activating the immune system, supporting heart health, providing energy, fighting cancer cells, reducing mucous and supporting blood flow. I have long wanted to grow these beauties and finally I’m starting small with two logs, enough to make some medicine and maybe eat a few from time to time. You can find already inoculated logs for sale from various local sources.

Monthly Special: To bring in the new year, I’d like to celebrate the big four, Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail and Lions Mane! All 4 of a kind tinctures will be $10 off. 1oz tinctures will be $15 and 2oz tinctures $25.

Growing now in a forest near you just might be Birch Polypore and Turkey Tail mushrooms. The Birch Polypore can be found mainly on Birch trees and have no look a likes. Turkey Tail can be found pretty much on any type of dying trees, they tend to be found on downed branches, stumps and decaying logs. The more I learn about Birch Polypore, the more I’m excited about it. It is the mushroom used to make hats, made famous by Paul Stamets and available on his website. It can used in making fires and was one of the mushrooms found on Otzi, the iceman found in the alps in the ’90’s. It’s believed he used it for fire and also for his intestinal health and treating abdominal pain. Besides those things it shows anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties, and is a natural laxative. It can used in tinctures and teas. Coming in February I will have more Birch Polypore and Usnea tinctures available.

Thank you everyone for a great year and supporting my small business!! I am truly grateful to you all!! I hope everyone has a healthy and joyous start to 2022!