September Newsletter

Summer has had it’s glorious season for this crazy year and is winding down, welcoming in fall. This year in mushroom foraging has been an abundant one. The Morals were great, followed by an amazing Reishi bounty, Chicken of the Woods and Chanterelles didn’t disappoint, so what’s next? Fall will see some of the best varieties popping out. Before I talk about those I’d like to give some updates……

The markets are still going strong and to finish August I’ll be doing this Fridays market at East Asheville. From 3-6pm at 954 Tunnel rd., Groce United Methodist church. I won’t be back at this market until the end of September. I will be at the Weaverville market on September 2nd, which is from 2:30-6pm at Reems Creek Nursery, 76 Monticello Rd. I’ll return to that market at the end of the month. September will be my last month for mushroom walks for the year and I will try to get some in at the end of the month. Contact me either by phone or email to set one up!

****I’ll be out of town until the 22nd of September, so won’t be able to schedule any walks or fill any orders until then. *****

The fall mushrooms are arriving! Turkey Tail is full swing and to me one of the most important mushrooms in the forest. Turkey Tail is a powerful cancer fighter, immune booster and aids in digestion. Simply making a tea out of this mushroom will benefit you greatly. I make tinctures from turkey Tail as well. you can real Turkey tail from the false by looking at the bottom of it, it’ll be white and almost like a sandpaper on the bottom. Here is a good article on it: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/turkey-tail-mushroom

Another highly medicinal mushroom popping out is Lions Mane. It’s hard to mistake this mushroom for any other. It’s toothed, solid white and most often found on dying or dead trees. Lions Mane has a seafood flavor and tastes great, besides that it is a powerful medicine, good for your heart, immune system and most especially your brain health! Keeping with the medicinal ‘shrooms, Maitake, Hen of the Woods or the dancing mushroom, is yet another fall specimen. Maitake is like Turkey Tail and Lions Mane is great for boosting your immune system, helps combat diabetes, lowers cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. It’s a cancer fighter and fights infections, making it an important mushroom in these times of viruses. Plus it tastes great!

Chicken of the Wood will be around for another few months, as well as Oysters, which see a late fall, golden colored variety. Boletes are still around a bit longer and Chanterelles are winding down. The Blue Indigo milk caps, a personal favorite, are unmistakable and out in full force right now. This month will see Puffballs emerge, open them up, if white inside they are good to eat, if any other color throw them out! There is also a Giant Puffball which grow quite large. Lastly is the Honey mushroom. There are two varieties, the ringed and ringless Honeys. They can be smooth on the cap or speckled and the ringed get a distinct veil on the stem. Identifying Honey mushrooms can be easy, but it’s a see it, touch it, smell it kind of thing. I recommend people get out on a walk with an expert to be sure. There is a toxic look alike called the Deadly Galerina that is quite similar, but looking at them side by side in the forest you’d see the big differences. Honeys are a choice edible, with the stringy stems being some of the best parts.

As always I have a full stock of my medicinal tinctures and dried mushrooms for tea making available. Welcome in fall by getting out and enjoying the cooler weather and do some mushroom hunting!

August Newsletter

Looking Glass Rock

Well friends and fellow mushroom people, the summer seems to be moving fast as we enter the last month of it. However that doesn’t mean the end of mushroom abundance! As the seasons change so do the different types of mushrooms that are growing. As every year is different in the mushroom world, this year has seen a blast of Reishi come on, a strange Chanterelle showing and lots of Milky and Bolete mushrooms as usual. Part of the fun of the hunt is never knowing what you’ll find, I’ve visited spots that were abundant every year that have been slightly barren this year and I have also found new spots that were flourishing. It’s always interesting to observe and record, to be caught off guard and to find just what your looking for at the exact time your looking for it. For example I had a memory pop up on my photo stream from a year ago of Lobster mushrooms, I went to the spot and sure enough there they were! This is a general, great rule, that when you find mushrooms like Chicken of the Wood or Chanterelles in a spot, remember that because the next year they will return to that very spot. I’ve been selling quite a bit of fresh picked wild mushrooms, especially Chanterelles, if you’d like some contact me by phone or email, I have a list of people to notify when I have fresh ones, if you’d like to be on that list let me know, plenty of time in the season still to add some wild mushrooms to your dinner!

***I deliver if local to Asheville area, also willing to meet in between if not too far***

I’ve had a great time leading walks this year so far and plan to continue through the fall as mushrooms like Honeys, Hen of the Wood and Lions Mane begin to grow. It’s worked out for those interested in doing a walk to contact me directly via email or by phone, that way I have been able to work with peoples schedules. I will be doing the tailgates as usual, however this month I will be at East Asheville on the 31st of July and then again the 14th and 28th of this month. I’m only doing one Weaverville market on the 19th. I hope to have some fresh Chanterelles and other kinds of wild mushrooms at those markets, as well as my usual medicinal tinctures and dried mushrooms for teas.

Here’s some gems you might find out there right now. All these are edible and tasty in my opinion. I have found the Leather backs are super good on the grill! I cut off the caps and grill those and saute the stems. The Bolete family of mushrooms is a generally safe family, with very few being toxic, however many are bitter tasting. Boletes have no gills instead they have a spongy under bottom and can sometimes change colors when bruised. Although there is edible Boletes that turn blue, I play it safe and stay away from those. Also red bottomed Boletes I stay away from. The Beef Steak is one of the only mushrooms you can eat raw in our woods and tastes great when marinated. The Lobster mushroom is a unique one and actually considered a parasitic mold. It often attaches itself to Russula mushrooms and completely devours it! Often found in piney areas. If you see a mound of pine needles, take a look underneath and you may find a surprise.

Russula (White stem/white gills)

The Corals are also a generally safe family with some exceptions of coarse. Always stay away from yellow corals for one, Corals over all are very hard to digest and the most sought after one is the Crown Tipped Coral, pictured above with tiny crowns on the tips.

Two very wonderful plants/flowers out there right now are these two. Ghost or Indian Pipe is a beautiful wild flower, often likened to the fungi family. It is a special one and should be treated as such both in harvesting practices and dose intake. Here’s a good article on it: https://wisdomoftheplantdevas.com/2019/10/04/ghost-pipe-a-hauntingly-rare-plant-for-physical-and-emotional-pain/

It has been used traditionally for pain relief, help getting to sleep and anxiety issues. The other plant here is one of my favorites to say and hear people repeat, Pipsissewa. This is an obvious Cherokee named plant. Pipsissewa is used in whole plant form, making a tea or tincture from it. It is used for Urinary issues, especially UTIs and bladder stones. It is also useful for anxiety and as an anticancer plant. It gets a pretty little flower as well.

The Queen Reishi

Being such an awesome year for Reishi mushroom I wanted to display this beauty! Found this recently growing solo, it’s a rare thing to find one like this with the distinct stem. It’s said the most medicinal concentration is in that stem. Reishi is said to slow the aging process among a long list of benefits, making it the mushroom of immortality. We’ve had some lovely rain storms this summer so far and recently, making it a wonderland of mushroom love in the forest, get out there, learn and find some wild foraged dinner! Contact me anytime for questions or orders: (828) 423-3875, I respond quicker to texts, or via email at blueridgechaga@gmail.com

July Newsletter

It’s summer and we have entered an exciting month on the mushroom front. These next few months are when the flood gates open. Many of the delicious, colorful and most variety of different mushrooms are popping out! It’s been rainy and the forest is moist, perfect conditions for the hunt. I get excited to do my walks during this time and all this month I will be leading them. It is also important that we spend time outside absorbing the fresh air and vitamin D of the sun during these times. You can sign up under the book now tab. Besides being out picking the wild stuff, I have dove into growing some fresh mushrooms for the markets, I’m currently growing Lions Mane and Gray Dove Oysters. I get my growing blocks from a friend in the mushroom world, his name is Matt and he runs Mayland Mushrooms out in Burnsville. His blocks are top notch and easy to do. I encourage anyone interested in doing it yourself at home to check out his blocks: http://maylandmushrooms.com/

With all the good mushrooms coming out I will have plenty to sell, picking the wild ones has always been a favorite past time for me. This month I will be collecting Chanterelles, Leather Back milk caps, Black Trumpets, Chicken Of The Wood, Beefsteak, Blue Indigo milk caps and some Bolete varieties. All mushrooms are $15 per pound and I sell half pounds as well. For many people mushroom picking is scary and it should be if you haven’t learned enough, or perhaps having the time is a challenge, so let me do it for you! Wild mushrooms make for a great addition to your dinner plate, they can be a way to get creative with your meals. I will have fresh picked mushrooms available at the tailgate markets as well as to order directly from me, if your interested in being on my notice list you can email me. I will send out notifications when I have new stuff straight from the forest. I do caution people to go easy at first, wild mushrooms are harder on our systems to digest, so small portions are a great place to start.

So what’s out there now? Well there’s a lot! The Chicken of the Wood is out and about, Chanterelles have begun to pin and pop, Leatherback Milk Caps, Boletes, Corals, Oysters, Boletes, Puffballs, Russalas and the very prized Chanterelle family, smooth, golden, cinnabar, Black Trumpets, and Appalachian. It’s always a great forage when you find a patch of chants. Really the better question is what’s not out! Above are some of the great edible varieties. I caution everyone not to go solely on pictures when picking on your own, there are many lookalikes out there and plenty of room for error, when in doubt toss it out. Many mushrooms can be turned into jerky very simply, the process is as easy as boiling the mushrooms for about 10 minutes, marinate in a nice sauce of your choosing for 5-6 hours, then dehydrate until mostly dry but still have a chewy consistency and there it is. I enjoy people sharing photos of the different meals they prepare with the mushrooms they buy from me or find on my walks. One of the latest was a friend who came on a walk and we found Cauliflower mushrooms. She made an awesome stir fry with them and shared this photo. I also like to make a nice soup with these ones. Hope to see some new faces out on a walk or at the market this month! Happy hunting ya’ll.

June Newsletter

It’s a new month and with it brings some exciting news. This month I will begin leading mushroom and plant ID walks! I will adding dates and times on my calendar for folks to sign up. The price is $30 a person and walks last about an hour and a half to 2 hours. I have had increased interest in private walks one on one or just a few people which is great and I’m always happy to do. If you’d like me to come to your property the cost is a bit higher at $50 an hour. At this time I plan to limit group sizes to 3-5 total for each walk. I have been out in the woods quite a bit and keeping a close eye on what’s growing and popping out. I have seen several varieties of mushrooms with Chicken of the Wood on my radar. I will be starting the second week of this month. Some dates are set and available if you click the Book Now button. ****If you don’t see a date for your availability, contact me at blueridgechaga@gmail.com and I can most likely make it happen! I am very flexible on times and days.****

This month is also the opening of the East Asheville Tailgate Market. It will begin Friday, June 5th and run from 3-6 pm in the same location as last year off Tunnel road. I will be vending this market as well as Weaverville on Wednesdays and Black Mountain on Saturdays. I will not be at every market but will announce when I will be at each one on social media each week. I always enjoy doing the local markets very much because of the chance to connect with new people and vendors in our community.

edible white edges

This spring has brought a wild abundance of Reishi, which is wonderful. Every season is different as we know times can change rapidly, so can mother nature and the natural world, last year was a decent Reishi year but this year is most abundant! Many people are unaware that the white edges can be eaten and are rather delicious! Reishi is one of the most powerfully medicinal mushrooms on the planet as well.

Some of the highlights of this month are exciting, top of the list is the COW, or Chicken Of The Woods. This one is easy to identify and a most sought after mushroom. Chickens taste best when found young, they get a bit tough as they fan out. You can make a variety of dishes with chickens that are truly delicious. Another great find is the Wood Ear mushroom. You can find this mushroom in many Asian dishes. This one is also an easy one to pick out in the woods. Also out in full force are polypore mushrooms. This is one of the safest families to forage and are often used in soup stocks. The most sought after one being Turkey Tail. Turkey Tail is identified by it’s colorful rings and white underside. Turkey Tail is a medicinal wonder and can used to make teas and tinctures. Polypores have no gills but rather teeth or pores underneath. They are some of the prettiest mushrooms you’ll see.

I can’t wait to get back to teaching and hope to see some new faces out on a walk in the woods with me. I’ve had a super successful spring forage so far, harvesting beautiful Reishi and Chaga. Finding the king and queen on the same hike is always a super highlight for me and recently I did just that. I’ve been busy cutting, smashing, drying, preparing teabags, tinctures and filling jars to bring to all those who seek out great health and immune boosting goodness. Hope to see ya’ll soon!!

Protecting against COVID-19 with Medicinal Mushrooms

As the Corona virus continues to be all around us, with little signs of going away anytime soon, it’s brought a lot of awareness along with it. The awareness I’m talking about is prevention, things we can do to help build up our systems to gain strength and protection against viruses and giving the body the tools to recover quicker. I have known about the benefits of medicinal mushrooms for ten years now. I have studied, researched and continue to learn all the time about the many properties and effects they have in our bodies. Ever since I began to learn, I began to drink the teas, take the tinctures and consume these different medicinal mushrooms on a daily basis. What I’ve seen and felt has helped my everyday life considerably. For instance, having arthritis in both my knees and being an avid hiker, I don’t experience the swelling in my knees I did previously. I haven’t been sick from the common cold in years and have never had the flu. I experience a calm and focused mind more often. My energy levels have increased. My allergies to pollen have gotten way better. I simply feel healthier, happier and a feeling of strength and ease knowing I’m adding such goodness to my body. I recently got an email from a customer in New Haven, Connecticut who was positive for the Corona virus. She previously bought a Chaga tincture at a tailgate market, also drinking the tea from Chaga she got from a friend. As she went through the shortness of breathe, fever, and coughing, she used all natural methods to get well again. The Chaga was a part of the mix she used, along with vitamin C, Zinc, Pau D’Arco and other herbs. She also practiced deep meditation and yoga during her recovery. This was great news to hear that she was recovering from the virus and that the Chaga was one of the tools she used.

There has been endless medical research throughout our history on all sorts of drugs, cures and treatments. The research on medicinal mushrooms seems quite behind and relatively new in our country. In places like Eastern Europe and Asia much more research has been done and the use of medicinal mushrooms like Chaga, Reishi, Maitake, Lions Mane and Turkey Tail is much more widespread and revered. All of these mushrooms are safe and highly beneficial, they are medicines we should have knowledge of and be implementing in our daily lives regardless of this virus, the fact that it is here and present has brought more people to realize they need to have a defense other than simply washing your hands or covering your mouth (which is super important all the same). Cautions of coarse should be taken when taking anything, interactions with medications is always a concern, though these mushrooms don’t contain any toxic properties, checking with your doctor or medical professional is strongly encouraged.

During these times we are in now it’s important and critical to be filling up our heads with good, useful information on ways to protect ourselves, to build strong immune systems and find healthier, more natural alternatives. This is a conversation that isn’t coming from the main stream media or officials! We need more information at the top levels of how important it is to build our immune systems with natural medicines during a time when such contagious viruses are popping up. There are many plants that grow in our region that are useful to boost immunity, strengthen our lungs and contain anti-viral properties, such as Usnea and Mullen for example. Taking Vitamin C and Osha root are both super helpful as well. Getting outside in the sunshine and walking, biking or hiking are everyday things we can do.

I believe and have seen research to support the idea that using medicinal mushrooms and herbs is more effective if they are taken straight from the forest, in other words wild crafted. I also believe in supporting your local economy, supporting local herbalists, wild crafters and small companies that provide such products. Mushrooms and plants thrive best in their natural environments, they contain more nutrients and beneficial properties than those being grown from kits or other methods. I enjoy the foraging aspect just as much as the reward of helping people. Being in connection with the natural world is a huge part of my everyday existence and gaining the knowledge I have over time of habitats, seasons, identification and uses has brought me even closer to the earth and a much healthier lifestyle. I’ve added a few interesting articles/links below to check out:

https://www.wisermindscompany.com/blogs/news/7-things-every-man-over-40-should-be-taking?fbclid=IwAR3TVlOYcssXICf37zkhAQ2CkZ5CVs8PNjdAsE_yXZRREmRAOSSzEc8s1oE

https://ergo-log.com/glucans-from-mushrooms-protect-against-virus-infections.html?fbclid=IwAR1urFzF0B-V_SW5PN_yWh4PdYtrCswsCaOhUUvwup9l5_xpPov1t8rr8F0

May Newsletter

It’s kind of unbelievable that it’s already May! As I get older this seems the norm, time just flying by. Like many mushroom hunters, I get excited this time of year, watching new flowers blooming, seeing mushrooms reemerge and the natural world turning green again. However we are in the middle months, by that I mean the Morels come and go and then we have a space of a month or two before the real hunting begins. Right now this month we are seeing Fawn, Wood Ear, and Pheasant Back mushrooms growing, all edible and fun to find. I’ll talk more about these and what else to look out for further down in the newsletter.

As for some updates, I’m excited to see the opening of the Black Mountain Tailgate Market this Saturday! I will be there vending. The market is it’s usual time of 9-12 in the morning. The location is slightly changed and there are of coarse distancing rules in place. Here is a statement from the market:

Here are the Market Rules for the BMTM, starting on May 2. Hours are the same 9-noon. Held in the South Parking lot at the First Baptist Church. Entry into market area is from the back of the church.
1. No one exhibiting symptoms may enter the market.
2. Maintain 6 ft of social distance at all times.
3. One customer per vendor at a time.
4. No pets allowed.
5. Children must be closely supervised.
6. Only handle product you are purchasing.
7. Contact-less payment forms preferred.
8. Total number of shoppers in market area restricted.
9. Face covering is desired and encouraged.

We’re sorry to have to do this and we hope things will open up sometime in the near future. We appreciate your cooperation. There is also more info on their facebook page.

All my products are in stock again and I recently purchased a new grinder to make Chaga powder more available. ***I plan to resume mushroom/plant identification walks in June and can’t wait as I love to teach and meet folks. ****

With the mushrooms returning, my favorite right now is the emerging of the Reishi! You may see the young growths, the bubbles, all over the pines and hemlocks in some places, I know I have. Reishi can be a slow grower and it’s important to let them mature before picking, the reason for this is to let it gain it’s medicinal potential, as well as be able to drop it’s spores to bring more Reishi. When they turn mostly red on top and have just small outer bands of white or yellow they are ready, for some this may take until June but some grow faster and are ready earlier. The outer bands of white and yellow are edible and tasty. Some research I have found indicates that there is a highly concentrated amount of medicinal value in the stems and letting those stems form is important. I have been drying some recent mature harvests to make tinctures from and have available in dry pieces. Reishi is the calming mushroom, used for centuries by Buddhist monks to find calm in the mind and body during meditation. It is good to help sleep and calm anxiety. Reishi is a tumor fighter and recognized to fight cancer. It detoxifies the liver and kidney and is highly anti-inflammatory. Reishi promotes a healthy respiratory system, slows the aging process and helps lower blood pressure. It’s the queen of medicinal mushrooms, as Chaga is the king. I have more info on Reishi under the mushroom info tab. I have dried Reishi available in pint sized mason jars for $25, premade teabags 4 teabags for $15 or in tincture form, 1 and 2 oz sizes in double extracted alcohol or organic vegetable glycerin. I’m happy to see these special mushrooms in bloom this month.

Pheasant Back or Dryad Saddle mushrooms pictured above are a tasty find. Usually growing on dead stumps or logs. They have an almost cucumber flavor and are best consumed young, like the first picture, they get tougher as they grow. They are especially good in eggs. Here’s a great recipe idea: https://foragerchef.com/the-cucumber-mushroom-dryads-saddlepheasant-back/

Fawn or Broad Gill mushrooms are another edible, but to be taken with caution. They aren’t the tastiest treat, some liken them to dirty socks. All the same they are out and about and I personally like them.

Fawn mushroom

I hope as part of boosting your immune systems you all are getting out and soaking in the spring sun. It’s just lovely this time of year in our region with all the blooms and green trees and plants! I look forward to new days ahead and see clearer skies coming. Stay tuned for more information on my walks and markets. Stay safe, healthy and happy!

April update 4/7

Chaga double extracted alcohol tinctures are finished and bottled! Also my Four Of A Kind (Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail and Lions Mane) in double extracted alcohol is freshly made and bottled.

Weaverville market is Wednesday’s from 2:30-5 pm:

Lower Parking Lot Behind
West Funeral Home
17 Merrimon Ave, 28787

I will be there every week. Preordering is available, just let me know what you want and I’ll have it ready at the market, pick up and go.

Also excited to be back at Half Moon Market in Black Mountain! A full stock of fresh made tinctures, tea bags and loose Chaga. Stop by and see Justin.

April Newsletter

It’s April and spring is all around us! This spring season is unlike any other, given the state of the world. It’s also a chance to be outside, strengthening your immune system with fresh air and exercise. Hiking these mountains is a way to unplug and connect to something meaningful, nature. Our minds are busy with worry and fear, rightfully so, and getting in the forest can be a way to ease all that, at least for a little while.

It’s also Morel season and every mushroom hunter is out looking for them. It took me a few years to get to know these little beauties. I had to learn their environment and what surroundings they liked best. They were literally the ghost mushrooms to me, due to how well they blend in with their surroundings. They share the same color of the dry leaves, perfectly camouflaged. However once you find a ‘honey hole’, you keep that secret forever, or until someone discovers it. They are here already and this month will see many wonderful finds. Hunting Morels is a fun challenge indeed. It is also on top of every mushroom enthusiasts list. A helpful hint is search old or new apple orchards, old stream beds and sunny sides of mountains. Morels love some Poplar trees as well. The Morel season doesn’t last long, about a month at most, so get out there. Good luck!

Another great find this month will be Ramps. These wild leeks are super potent in flavor. They are strong in the garlic department. You can pick them out by a red color at the base and their twin leaves on top. They have an onion like bulb below the surface. Ramps are popular in burgers and with eggs. Warning the smell may stick with you for awhile.

In product news, I will have a full stock of tinctures in just a weeks time. Tailgate markets are still open and I plan to vend a few here and there. Weaverville is starting on the first of April. I will give you up to date news on which ones I’ll be at as they start. In the mean time online ordering is best for people not in the Asheville area. For locals meetings can be arranged or delivered. I have been out in the forest foraging quite a bit and have plenty of Chaga! Stay safe and healthy y’all…

Weaverville market is from 2:30 to 5pm. Excepting Venmo, PayPal or Square payments only.

NEW LOCATION
Lower Parking Lot Behind
West Funeral Home
17 Merrimon Ave, 28787

COVID-19 Updates

First of all I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy! It’s important to follow recommendations from officials and keep yourself informed. I believe the products I forage and make medicine from are an important resource for people to keep their immune systems strong, I will say they are not a cure or a certainty to prevent this virus, they are all strong immune system boosters and do help fight off sickness.

A few notes on availability. I am currently out of Chaga powder but have plenty of the small chunks on hand. There is no difference between the powder and the chunks aside from preference. They are used the same.

I am also limiting orders to 2 lbs of Chaga at a time, this is to make it available to more people, demand has increased and I am working to keep up. My supply of tinctures is looking good as well as teabags.

I am currently out of dried Turkey Tail jars, I do have the teabags and tinctures of Turkey Tail.

I want to remind people that shipping is ongoing but has slowed down in some places, there may be delays in receiving your product. I will send tracking numbers on all orders. I have not had anyone not receive their orders but have had some get them a day or two late. I had one customer have to pick up their order at the post office as they wouldn’t deliver to their apartment complex. Please keep that in mind. I am grateful to the post office for doing the job they do and providing the service they do in keeping us connected.

You may receive communications and emails, phone calls, etc from my partner Jill Phoenix, she has been helping me quite a bit with staying organized and keeping the flow going.

Lastly my walks/tours have been postponed for now, I was hoping to begin walks in April but that may be delayed some. Unfortunately the Leaf festival has been moved to fall, the Floyd Herb fest is rescheduling and other events I was hoping and excited to be a part of are all changing dates. I will keep everyone informed with updates as to when my walks/tours will resume. I HOPE by summer when all the good mushrooms will be out!

As a reminder many people are overlooking the other immune boosters I offer such as Reishi, Turkey Tail, Maitake, Lions Mane and Usnea. All of these provide support to the respiratory system and help keep us healthy. I have various links on this page with information on each.

I really appreciate all of you!! I truly love the customers I interact with and sometimes never get to meet. I feel good about the work I do and it only drives my passion more. I can’t say enough about Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail, Maitake and others that help keep us healthy and strong. Now more than ever these kinds of natural medicines are so important in our fight against illness such as this terrible virus. I have been spending some more time than usual out foraging in many regions around the Appalachians making sure I have Chaga and other mushrooms in stock. If I or Jill don’t get get back to you right away, that’s why, but rest assured we will return your communication. Again let me say Thank you….

March Newsletter

It’s hard to imagine that winter is on it’s way out with snow on the ground, but it is!

*****THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED*******This month will see my first presentation happen on March 29th, a Sunday from 1-3pm. It will be at Mountain Sage Wellness Shop in Hendersonville. I really love herb shops and this one is wonderful. I will be talking about the top medicinal mushrooms I work with, Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail and Lions Mane. I will also have Chaga tea samples and a tincture tasting of my Four Of A Kind Blend. The event will be $10, tickets are available here, click Book Now.

I hope to do many more presentations and workshops this year. March is my last month to stock my inventory before the tail gate market season begins. This year I’m vending at East Asheville, Black Mountain, Burnsville and adding Weaverville. I am also stocking up for a great event happening in April called the Floyd herb fest. The fest is in Floyd, Virginia, and looks like a whole lot of health in one place. They will have over 70 vendors , classes, workshops, nature walks, parades for kids, drum circles, music, yoga and more! I’m pretty excited to be a part of this.

This time of year, as winter winds down, I really start to get excited for spring plants and flowers to start budding and for the early mushrooms such as Morels and Fawns. This winter allowed me to forage quite a bit and the forest was good to me, I found more than enough Chaga, leaving quite a bit behind for future hunts, others and the natural cycles of nature. I also had time to work on fine tuning and organizing my business, I am not a business minded person by any means, so this was necessary.

I wanted to take a minute to describe the process that goes into getting Chaga ready for product making, forest to friends I call it. First naturally is finding the Chaga in the wild. Hunting Chaga can be a tough task, often roaming off trail to get deep in the forest. Once spotted it often takes a good deal of work to get it out of the tree, as well as leaving 30-50% to regrow. Next comes the smashing, I use a big mallet and spend many hours breaking it into small pieces, removing bark and shifting out dirt, leaves and anything else mixed in. Then comes drying. Chaga can absorb quite a bit of moisture. I prefer drying it in the sun but sometimes use a dehydrator when necessary. After it’s dry, I spend time filling tea bags and creating tinctures. All in all the whole process takes weeks and everything is done by hand, by only myself, no fancy machines, just the old fashioned process, the way native cultures did. I put much time and love into each forage and product. It won’t be long now until my walks and the markets begin again, stay tuned.