Into the year we go……February is a true winter month in the mountains and it’s also my birth-day month! I’ll be traveling down south for the first week, to walk the empty beach, camp, kayak and celebrate 45 years on earth. Orders will be delayed until I return on the 6th. I plan to get in some chaga hunting, forage more turkey tail and scout some potential morel areas upon return. These months before spring are a great time to get to know your trees. Identifying poplar, elm and apple trees is one of the keys to finding morels in the coming months. There’s still many mushrooms popping out in the cold conditions, even though you may not be eating them all, just out discovering these varieties can be fun!
New collaborations: This year is off to a great start with two new collaborations under way. Vending at tailgate markets has introduced me to many amazing makers and with each one I meet, I wonder, can mushrooms go with that! Botanical Bones is a local, super natural dog treat company here in Asheville. Their treats are all plant based and made with love. I’m excited to provide local chaga for their ‘inner glow’ treats.
Check them out–https://botanicalbones.com/
Also there’s a new kombucha maker on the scene locally, Terra Farmstead Kombucha. Not only do they make some wonderful kombucha but they run an amazing farm not far from where I live. They’ll be using my reishi, chaga and turkey tail in some very interesting batches of kombucha that will include pine, juniper, and lemon, also cardamom, purple sweet potato, mace and orange in another, yum! You can find them on instagram.
Markets: Weaverville winter market: Wedensdays 3-6 @weaverville community center 60 lakeshore drive…I’ll be there 2/8 and 2/22
Monthly Special: $10 off all Indian Pipe tinctures. Monotropa uniflora, aka Indian Pipe is a wild flower that needs mushrooms for nourishment. These little beauties’ feed off the underground mycelia network. They lack chlorophyll and their petals are completely translucent. Quite an amazing little flower and they make powerful medicine. Indian Pipe/Ghost Pipe is a sedative, helping with sleep issues, mild pain issues, it helps improve migraine headaches, helps treat seizures, chronic muscle spasms and can have a very calming effect. Some people will use indian pipe when having a bad trip, to bring them back down. Also it’s said indian pipe can help with emotional pain, ptsd and mental health issues.
With pickins pretty slim this time a year, it’s hard to go find a bounty out in the woods. However there are some things to keep an eye out for on the trail. (pictures in order as descriptions following) The jelly mushrooms seem to pop up all around the year wood ear and amber jelly roll are two of the best, both edible and look very similar. Black cup fungus and witches butter are two more edible jelly mushrooms, both are distinct in look and color. The witches butter is a bright yellow, can be eaten raw but is rather tasteless. Wild enoki or velvet foot mushrooms are winter lovers and grow in clusters, usually on elm trees, which is a great way to find possible morel spots in spring. These are tricky as the deadly galerina looks very similar. They do have a velvety base to the stem which is a big difference, hence the name. Chaga of coarse grows all year and is one of the best all around medicinals. I found a late lions mane in our region about a week ago and with temps being slightly warmer it’s not rare to see them this time of year. There’s many kinds of conk mushrooms out there all year around, the artist conk is a medicinal one that can take on different looks. Birch polypore is pretty distinct in look, starting white and taking on a goldish, tan color with age, they have an almost toothed look on the bottom as they grow. Turkey tail grows well in winter and shows up in a range of colors. Be sure they have a white bottom and are paper thin. These are little medicinal powerhouses and can be found anywhere on downed wood, branches, trunks or logs. Lastly winter oysters are a real delight to come across, they can get quite big and have more of a goldish white color. They are some of my favorite tasting of the oysters. Until next month, happy winter hunting y’all.