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.
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!