October News Letter

Fall is here! This is a favorite time of year for me. The weather has begun to cool off, the leaves soon will burst into brilliant, vibrant colors, and it’s the perfect time for camping and bonfires. It has been an unusually dry end to summer and that has left the forest kind of bare of mushrooms. Sadly the mushroom season is coming to close, although a few things are still out there such as Hen of the wood, Chickens, fall Oysters, Turkey Tail, Chaga, Reishi, Birch Polypore and possibly a few other stragglers. For me this means just a few walks left this year. My walk schedule will be pretty limited in the month of October. I have been out a bit recently and found very little, that doesn’t mean there’s not good stuff out there but I have been waiting for some rains to come through before I schedule anything. Basically if it rains in the Asheville or Black Mountain area, than a few days later I will most likely try and do a walk. Just keep an eye on the calendar. Coming this month and through winter I’m excited to add destination hikes! If your new to the area, visiting or simply haven’t explored as much as you’d like. I have been exploring this area for many years and have come to know some really sweet spots, waterfalls, balds, overlooks, historical places and other destinations. Every week I will feature a different one and guide a group along the trail. Most hikes will be between a half hour and hour drive and hikes could be several hours long. I would like to thank everyone who came out for mushroom walks this year, I had some truly lovely groups.

So some news and happenings for October. East Asheville tail gate market ends this friday the 27th. It’s been a good season, thanks to all who came out to support me and there will be a holiday market so stay tuned for that. The Black Mountain Market goes until the end of November and I plan on being there every Saturday except two. On October 12th I will be at the Yancy County market in Burnsville and then again on November 9th. There’s plenty of good tailgating left!

***this event has been cancelled****

Also on Saturday, October 12th, from 1:30-4pm, which is after the market, in Burnsville, I will be doing a presentation at Kate’s Garden Refuge. You can follow this link to register: https://katesgardenrefuge.com/event/the-healing-power-of-medicinal-mushrooms/

I will be presenting on Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail and Lions Mane mushrooms and talking about some edible and poisonous ones as well. Kate will be doing a singing bowl mediation afterwards by donation. If you’ve never done this you really should, it’s a truly amazing, relaxing experience!!

Another big announcement is that I will be doing a workshop at the LEAF festival!! You can follow this link to see myself and the other healing arts presenters: https://www.theleaf.org/healing-arts/

I will be talking about the good and bad mushrooms in our region, I’ll have tea samples and also be doing a short mushroom hunt. I’ve been volunteering and going to the LEAF festival since I moved here 9 years ago and I super excited to be a part of it as a presenter.

This months mushroom is the fore mentioned Birch polypore. This mushroom is a bracket fungus. It is a polypore, which means no gills. These grow almost always only on Birch trees. They can fruit on the tree for up to a whole year. They start off white and over time turn a tanish brown color. This mushroom was one of the things Ozti, the iceman mummy found frozen in the Alps in the 90s, was carrying on him. You can eat the young version of these mushrooms and they aren’t bad at all. However it’s main uses come in the medicinal properties it holds. It is used as an immune tonic, it is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-tumor, anti-parasitic, anti-viral and anti-bacterial. It is being studied for both cancer and HIV treatments. It also is good to help start fires! I admired this mushroom for years, always wondering what it was used for and upon learning all about, I use it now in my medicine cabinet.

Hope you all get out in the beautiful fall weather and enjoy some hiking, camping, foraging or just sitting on your porch.

“Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom” —Thomas Carlyle

Monthly Newsletter

NEWSLETTER June 2019:

Greetings all! I’m starting this newsletter to feature some of what is growing out in the forest this month and what you can expect to see on my walks. As a side note I do scout out several trails for each walk and try to pick the best one with the most mushrooms and plants that are out. However it’s no guarantee we will see all of what I feature but it’s always possible! So lets get to it; Spring is an exciting time but is one that requires patience for the mushrooms. Morel season is done for the year but this month is the beginning of some of the best mushrooms such as Chicken of the Wood, Wood Ear, Pheasant Back, Reishi, Oyster, Umbrella Polypores, Berkley Polypore, Birch Polypore and Turkey Tail. Some less popular ones are Fawns or Broad Gilled mushrooms. Also in the mushroom family is the beautiful Ghost Pipe.

As far as plants go it’s wide open. Fiddleheads are still around, ramps have about passed but still may be out there. Edibles such as Trout Lily, Violets, Dock, Dead Nettle, Chick Weed, Wild Ginger, Bear Corn, Day Lilies, Clover, Garlic Mustard, Plantain, Cressy greens and Nettles are some of the goodies. Medicinals such as Solomons Seal, Yarrow, Heal All, Squaw Vine, Trillium, Pipsissewa, Rattlesnake Plantain, and Blue and Black Cohosh are in full swing.

And that’s just some of what we might find! The forest always gives surprises.

This month I’m highlighting Wood Ears and Nettles:

Wood Ear mushrooms are tasty medicinal mushrooms. Recently a fellow vendor at the market told me these mushrooms are super popular in the Philippines. In that region they grow much larger than here.  They are rich in protein, iron, fiber, and vitamins B1 and B2. They are best sautéed or stir fried. They are members of the Jelly Mushroom family. Here’s a recipe for Wood Ear: https://www.hwcmagazine.com/recipe/how-to-prepare-wood-ear-mushrooms/

Stinging Nettle is also a tasty treat. This plant is big in our area, especially at Warren Wilson College where they have been known to make a delicious soup out of it. Nettles are best in younger leaf form. You need to get the stingers off first, here’s a recipe on how to prepare and cook them:  https://www.thespruceeats.com/sauteed-stinging-nettles-2217561  The stingers are actually great for joint pain, simply by taping the plant on the painful area, it can be itchy and sting but it works! I advise wearing gloves and using scissors when collecting them.

Enjoy! I will feature more Mushrooms and Plants next month.

Turkey Tail – Trametes Versicolor

Turkey Tail, also known in Japan as Cloud Mushroom, is a very common yet extra special little mushroom. If you hike any amount in our region or the Northern hemisphere for that matter, you are sure to run across these guys. Another beautiful looking mushroom that comes in all sorts of lovely colors, blues, browns, purples, grays and greens. It is always striped and it’s distinguishing factor is it’s all white bottom. There are several similar look alikes, none are bad or poisonous, they just don’t have the medicinal punch that Turkey Tail does. You can find these on downed branches or rotting trunks, they also will grow on healthy trees. Turkey Tail has been recognized by the FDA for it’s studies around cancer and chemotherapy. It is widely used by patients to rebuild immune systems weakened by chemo treatments. I believe it is one of the most noticed but over looked mushroom in the forest.

Alittle history of Turkey Tail, it has been used in Japan and many Asian cultures since the 15th century. The oldest discovered mummy, dating back 4,000 years, had Turkey Tail in his medicine kit! It’s believed he used it for it’s antibiotic and natural parasite killing qualities. Turkey Tail is revered in Aztec rituals and the Egyptians gave it pharaohs and kings.

Health benefits:

  • Prevents and treats the common cold and flu
  • Can support chemo patients
  • May combat breast cancer
  • Helps treat HPV
  • Aids digestion
  • May help HIV/AIDS patients
  • Boosts immune system
  • Packed with anti-oxidants
  • May improve insulin resistance
  • combats fatigue
  • good for canine issues

False Turkey Tail:

Maitake-Grifola frondosa Hen Of the Woods, Sheeps Head

This mushroom was coined by the Japanese as the Dancing Mushroom, because when someone found one they would dance with joy knowing they will be in good health. Maitake is one of my personal favorite edibles for flavor. The health benefits of Hens are numerous:

*Immune system regulator

*Helps weight loss

*Cancer fighter- Reduces cancerous cell production and tumor growth, especially in breast cancer.

*Full of Vitamins B, C and D as well as Anti-Oxidants, Beta D Glucans and Potassium.

*Lowers Cholesterol levels and fights Diabetes

*Helps treat the side effects of Chemo

*Fights against flu and cold viruses

Maitake is a great additive to your medicine cabinet, especially in winter months when boosting your immune system is important in fighting off colds. It also shows great promise in our fight against cancer. Here’s a few helpful links:

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/maitake-mushroom

https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/maitake