What’s in those mushrooms?

Most people who seek out medicinal mushrooms such as Chaga, Reishi, Lions Mane, Maitake and Turkey Tail, among many others, have some knowledge that they are good for us. Some of us read articles and look at scientific research, we may have heard about mushrooms from friends or family, or we are just curious about them. The picture above is what my cupboard looked like when I got started diving into mushroom foraging and making medicine. In the beginning I fell into the curiosity category, knowing very little but over the years I have learned so much and continue to everyday. This post is designed to break down, in a simple way, what benefits we get from mushrooms.

Polysaccharides: These are essentially carbohydrates. Poly means ‘many’, saccharides means ‘sugars’. One of the main functions of these compounds is to store energy. Most all medicinal mushrooms contain polysaccharides, some more than others. One type of Polysaccharide found in the cell walls of mushrooms are Beta D Glucans. These are responsible for many of the benefits we gain from mushrooms such as Anti-Oxidants, boosting and regulating the immune system and blood sugar and cholesterol regulation. They also help fight cancer and slow or stop tumor growth.

Terpenoids are another compound found in many medicinal mushrooms. They are responsible for Anti-Microbial, Anti-Viral, Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Neurodegenerative activity.

An important thing to share about these compounds is that some are water soluble and others are not, this show up when deciding to take a tincture or making a tea. Hot water will pull out some compounds, while alcohol or glycerin will pull the others out. Making a double or triple extraction tincture covers all the bases by mixing alcohol, hot and cold water infusions together. Of course you won’t miss a thing by taking the tincture and drinking the tea.

Vitamins can be found in all mushrooms but certain kinds are higher in medicinal mushrooms such as Vitamin D2, which is used when deficient in D vitamin, also in dietary supplements. Vitamin B12, used for energy, red blood cell formation, metabolism, nerve function and production of DNA. Vitamin C, which produces collagen for healthy bones, it helps us stay away from colds and plays a part in healthy muscles and tissues.

Within the vitamin family found in medicinal mushrooms there is Riboflavin (B2), is necessary to the body for cellular respiration. Niacin (B3), turn our food into energy and keeps our digestive, nervous systems and skin healthy. Pantothenic Acid (B5), which plays role in reducing anxiety and stress, also improves asthma and respiratory issues. Cholecalciferol (D3), is good for bones.

From vitamins to minerals, medicinal mushrooms can be high in minerals as well. Potassium, plays a part in making our vital organs function correctly, can lower blood pressure and improve heart health. Zinc, helps boost the immune system, testosterone production, and skin health. Copper, which transports oxygen and electrons to cells. Selenium, helps keep the immune and thyroid systems healthy. Ergothioneine, an Amino Acid, which is used for preventing liver damage, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Here’s a list of health problems and the mushrooms that could help:

Diabetes: Maitake, Chaga, Lions Mane, Turkey Tail

High Blood Pressure: Reishi, Maitake, Oyster

Arthritis: Chaga, Reishi

Alzheimer’s/ Dementia/Brain health: Lions Mane

Stress/Anxiety/Depression: Reishi, Lions Mane

Digestive issues: Turkey Tail, Chaga, Reishi, Lions Mane

Heart issues: Lions Mane, Reishi

Liver/Kidney: Reishi, Oysters

Energy: Chaga, Turkey Tail

Sleep: Reishi, Indian Pipe

Immune Boost: Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail, Lions Mane, Maitake, Oysters

Cancer: Turkey Tail, Chaga, Reishi, Lions Mane, Maitake

**Medicinal mushrooms are not a cure for these conditions, consulting a doctor if on medication is recommended. Medicinal mushrooms continue to undergo testing in our country and are showing amazing promise in treating health conditions and also improving our overall health on a daily basis. These mushrooms have been tested and used successfully in treatments, especially cancer, in many other countries including throughout Europe, Asia and Russia.

2021! January Newsletter

Well done everyone, we made it! 2020 is behind us now and it’s a fresh start in the new year, 2021! I want to thank everybody for your support of my business, each of you has had a role in my success and doing what I do is a dream come true. I started this venture over ten years ago, learning, studying, foraging, work trading and going to school along the way. I believed in the mushrooms and their healing power. I was drawn to working with mushrooms right away and it quickly became a passion, something that hasn’t changed a bit to this day. I’m excited to begin identification walks again in the spring and meeting lots of new mycrophiles! This year has been exceptional in the mushroom realm of Western North Carolina. I discovered some new species to me, foraged a great deal of the medicinal and edibles I work with and taught several folks on my walks. I believe 2021 will be full of mushroom bounty and can’t wait to get back out in the spring. For now it’s Turkey Tail, Lions Mane and Chaga hunting all winter!

To welcome in the new year I’m running a special for the month on Chaga, buy any Chaga tincture, 1oz or 2oz and get a free set of Chaga teabags. Available in either double extracted alcohol or vegetable glycerin. All my products are wild crafted straight from the forest here in western North Carolina. Chaga is known as the king of medicinal mushrooms and also called the diamond of the forest. Chaga has a range of wonderful benefits for overall health. Chaga is Anti-Inflammatory which helps conditions such as arthritis, joint issues and digestion. Chaga is very high in Anti-Oxidants, showing higher content than any other food product, making it a superfood. It helps give you natural energy by boosting your immune system. Chaga is a Immune regulator. It is a cancer fighter, showing the ability to reduce the size tumors and slow tumor growth. It contains vitamins B, C and D, Zinc, Potassium, and Iron. Chaga tea or tincture along with doses of vitamin C has shown to be powerful for boosting the immune system and in turn is a good defense against Co-Vid, it is not a cure or preventive but could make a huge difference in the battle against the virus.

Blue Oysters

This year I plan to roll out some new products including Oyster mushroom tinctures, Oyster mushrooms contain polysaccharides which help boost your immune system, they also are great sources of niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Also Mullein tinctures, Mullein is traditionally used to improve lung function. As Co-Vid lingers all around us, these two medicinal tinctures will be a great additive to your routine. I’m also excited about offering tee shirts, stickers and reusable tote bags with my new logo on them this year. I also hope to expand some and get my products on more shelves. I’ll be out hitting the streets and talking to small shops that offer natural, health products such as the wonderful mushrooms I work with. Lastly in announcements in the new year, I’m looking to upscale my growing capabilities and start a subscription of fresh mushrooms to be available. I’m playing with idea of doing subscriptions for teas and tinctures as well, if your interested in having monthly or bimonthly orders of either of those please let me know.

Happiest of new years to all, 2021 will be better!!!

December Newsletter

Welcome to December, to winter, and to the passing of the year. Being out in the forest in the winter months is a special time for me, it means one thing, Chaga hunting! The cold air, the bare trees and the off trail adventures make for ideal Chaga conditions. Besides Chaga, there is an abundance of Turkey Tail still growing. This months feature is the many shades of Turkey Tail.

In honor and celebration of these two powerful, medicinal mushrooms, I’m running two specials this month. Specials are for the whole month of December.

A wellness pack: One Turkey tail 2oz tincture, One half pound of Chaga and One set of Reishi teabags for $50 (value of $85).

Buy one get one free on dried Chaga by the pound. When you order one pound of dried Chaga you get one free!

Turkey Tail, Trametes Versicolor, or the Cloud Mushroom, is a common, polypore mushroom that grows on fallen branches or dying tree trunks throughout our region. The identifying aspects are the colored rings on the top and a white bottom of pores not gills. You want to make sure the pores are solid white, they turn yellowish or off colored when too old to harvest. Turkey Tail has a rich history around the globe in traditional medicinal use. It is one of the only mushrooms FDA approved for cancer treatment, which is a shame considering Chaga, Reishi, Lions Mane and Maitake all show amazing results in helping to fight and treat cancer. I believe in the near future these other wonderful mushrooms will show up in mainstream treatments.

Turkey Tail has an array of benefits that include: Aiding in digestion, they help to improve gut bacteria balance. They contain powerful antioxidants that help boost your immune system, which is a key part of recovering from chemo treatments. Powerful Polysaccharides that help to inhabit the growth of cancer cells. Beta Glucans that help prevent obesity. They help to fight off the common cold and flu. Turkey Tail is good for fighting canine cancers as well. It helps treat HPV.

Turkey Tail can be used as a tea or soup base by using it in dried or fresh form, can also be taken as a tincture.

Another mushroom you may run across out there during December is the Resinous Polypore, or Skirt Steak of the woods as some call it. You may see a red liquid exuding from the cap. These mushrooms are extra fleshy and grow quite thick. I’ve tried these for the first time this year and highly enjoyed the flavor. Simply cut the mushroom in thin strips and sauté. As with most shelf mushrooms the outer edges are the best, as you get into the center they become tough and hard to eat.

Lastly let me say one of the things I’m grateful for is the fall bringing beautiful Lions Mane.

Happy holiday season everyone! Thanks for your support and may you all stay healthy, stay safe and be merry as we say goodbye to 2020.

The Good News Fall Update

I have a fresh round of tinctures made and ready to go out. To celebrate fall and the abundance it’s brought my way, I’m running a special on Maitake and Lions Mane tinctures. For the rest of this month if you buy a Maitake or Lions Mane tincture, 1oz or 2oz, I will add a mixed set of three teabags -1 Chaga, 1 Reishi and 1 Turkey Tail  for free. 

 While roaming around the forest this fall I have come across some nice Maitake, Lions Mane and Turkey Tail mushrooms. These make up a triple crown of medicinal goodness. 

Maitake, Hen of the Woods, or the dancing mushroom, as it’s known, typically grows at the base of Oak trees through the fall. It’s a harder mushroom to find as it is an expert at camouflaging itself among the brown leaves. Maitake is an important mushroom at this time in our world. One of it’s best benefits is that it helps fight off the flu. The flu season is upon us and mixed with the Corona virus, it’s that much more important to protect ourselves the best we can. Maitake also boosts the immune system, is rich in minerals, vitamins and amino acids, all things our bodies need.

Lions Mane mushroom grows throughout the fall, on all sorts of dead tree trunks, fallen branches or logs. It’s a toothed mushroom and not much else resembles this beauty. Lions Mane benefits include: improved cognitive function, memory and focus, studies are showing promise against Dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases. It helps heal nerve damage, relieve depression, protect against ulcers, reduces heart disease rate, boosts the immune system and may help fight cancer.

Turkey Tail or cloud mushroom, grows wildly abundant all fall long. You can find it on fallen or intact tree branches and trunks. Turkey Tail is a little medicinal powerhouse. Benefits include: aiding in digestion, full of anti-oxidants, combats HPV, boosts the immune system, fights cancer, especially breast cancer, is antibacterial and helps fight canine cancer.

Besides these three, fresh Reishi, Chaga, Usnea, and Four Of A Kind tinctures are being bottled. I have plenty of loose, dried Turkey Tail and Chaga on hand as well.

In more exciting news I have set up my website to take payments and do check out, so no more back and forth emailing, simply pick what you’d like and buy directly online. 

The last market of the year that I’ll be doing is next weekend 11/21 at Black Mountain Tailgate market from 9-12.

November Newsletter

It’s November and the year is almost over, thank goodness. I say that only based on the pandemic and state of our nation, in the world of mushrooms it has been a great year. Since I ended walks for the year and began harvesting for my own personal use and medicine making for the business, the forest has provided! I have found my biggest, single Chaga piece, some grand Maitake clusters, loads of Turkey tail and even some Reishi, Chickens, Indigos, Honeys, Beefsteaks and Cauliflowers! And before the season closes I’m on the hunt for Lions Mane. For me this is a time of foraging, drying, tincture making, tea bag filling and stopping to appreciate the colors and wonders of the forest.

The season of tailgate markets is also winding down. The East Asheville market will end on the 30th of October, which I will be at. I have finished the Weaverville market for the year and a thank you to all who came to support me there. I do plan on doing a few markets in November in Black Mountain 9-12 and Burnsville 9-1, both on Saturdays. I will give announcements of any holiday markets I plan to attend. I’m grateful to all those who come to the markets and support us small local businesses and to all the vendors, volunteers and market managers for making it happen.

I’m also always interested in collaborations and new markets to carry my products. I’m in the works of working with some herbalists and coffee makers to create new products, coming soon. If you know of any connections or are yourself a connection please feel free to contact me. One such collaboration I’ve had for some time is with Sister Of Mother Earth, Lori is an immensely knowledgeable medicine maker who specializes in Elderberry products and various tonics. She uses my Chaga in her syrup and I use it everyday. Her products are all over Western North Carolina: https://www.sisterofmotherearth.com/

More and more information is popping out on the importance of using immune boosters during this pandemic. Vitamins and supplements are gaining a little more spotlight but little mention of mushrooms. I think it’s important to share the immune boosting mushrooms that can help us, such as, Turkey Tail, Chaga, Reishi, Maitake and Lions Mane, also the lichen Usnea. These along with Elderberry, Vitamin C, and Zinc, to name a few, can provide a first line of defense against Co-Vid 19, the flu and the common cold as winter sets in. Here’s a useful link for medicinal mushrooms: https://fullscript.com/blog/mushrooms-for-immune-health

These are some of the wonderful finds I’ve had since the beginning of October. I couldn’t be more ecstatic after finding the biggest single Chaga I’ve ever found. This beauty as you see is the size of a buffalo head! This single piece will make tons of medicine. After searching for several weeks, coming across a group of large Hen of the Woods, Maitake, has been another great highlight. I enjoyed eating and sharing a portion of that but also drying a bunch for tincture making. Maitake is powerful tool against the flu and viruses and all too often overlooked in that category. The Reishi I found is a variety called Ganoderma Curtisii, a bit more rare than the common Ganoderma Tsugae we often find in our region. Honey mushrooms should stick around a little longer, along with Chickens, Blewits, Puffballs and Cauliflowers. This part of late fall is also prime time for Turkey Tail, which I have seen everywhere.

As winter sets in I want to wish everyone safe and healthy days ahead. Do your part to protect yourselves and others from Corona Virus, don’t forget to vote and enjoy some time out in nature collecting vitamin D.

Keep up with my other adventures at my blog: https://funguy2017.wordpress.com/

Fall Update

With fall here among us I’ve decided to dedicate the rest of the season to foraging for medicine making. So I won’t be doing any more walks this year. It’s a great time to be out in the forest and I hope you all go exploring. Walks will resume in the spring with some Morel hunting.

For me the hunt for Maitake is a challenging one, some years it is elusive and others I find a bunch. I refer to as the ghost mushroom, as it goes unseen. I have found Lions Mane in unlikely places and Turkey Tail is showing up every where I go. Not to mention the great Chaga outings to come. I will bring fresh finds of Chicken of the Wood, Honey mushrooms, and Oysters to the market each week I’m there if your interested in those.

Fall Foraging

      Into the chilly morning air
             I go alone
            to search for 
           the ingredients 
         for healing potions.
     to search for dancing mushrooms 
      Turkey Tails and Lions Mane.

       Into the falling leaves
     red, yellow, purple, orange
             and brown,
    strolling about as acorns fall
         to the forest floor. 
        Their colors disguise
 the Chicken of the Wood and the Oyster,
      growing wild and unnoticed. 
                
       It's quiet here, peaceful.
         The mushrooms appear
          one by one by one
    and soon my basket shall be full.

         Into the woods I go
            fall foraging
        in the afternoon delight.  

October News Letter

Beef Steak, Chicken of the Woods and Turkey Tail

Fall has arrived and with it brings the end of the abundant mushroom season. However there are several things still out to be on the look for. I am planning to do a few more walks in October if it works out. This year has been my best yet for walks and I want to thank all those who joined me. The interest in learning is alive and well and thriving in our area for sure. In market news, many markets are planning on winter markets this year and I hope to be a part of those, more information with dates and which markets is coming soon. For now I’m still doing Weaverville and East Asheville on Wednesdays and Fridays, running through the end of this month. This week I will be at both. As fall and winter set in, it is prime time for me to be out Chaga hunting. I’m fully stocked with all my products, so contact me with any needs or wants you may have. So let’s get into it!

Out this month and pretty much ending the season as a whole are these wonderful mushrooms: Honey, Beefsteak, Chickens, Hens, Blewits, Puffballs, Lions Mane, Turkey Tail, Bears Head Tooth. You will see others as well but these make up the edible treasures. Honey mushrooms are known as the largest living organism on earth, measuring 2.4 miles across in Oregon. Honeys are great tasting, especially the stringy stems. They often grow in clusters and always on wood. They have white spore prints, often with a veil around the stem and sometimes with black hairs on the cap. There are Ringless Honeys, which can be smooth on top and no veil. The Deadly Galerina is the look alike to Honeys, they are smoother on the cap and darker orange color and have dark gills. Honeys have white gills. Miatake, Hen of the Woods are a favorite edible of mine taste wise. They are also wonderful medicine, as is Lions Mane. The Bears Head Tooth mushroom taste very similar to Lions Mane and it’s medicinal properties are showing promise much the same as Lions Mane. Blewits and Chickens should stick around through the month and one not pictured here is the Fall Oyster, sometimes called Golden Oysters, which I have found in the winter months before. Here’s a helpful link having to do with Honey mushrooms with a few recipes included: https://foragerchef.com/honey-mushrooms-the-pride-of-eastern-europe/

I want to take a minute and thank everyone who supports what I do….I am grateful to each of you!! I have met so many wonderful people through this work and feel blessed not only to share my passion but live it everyday. Enjoy the changing days and embrace the fall, it’s a pretty season in these mountains and it’s last chance to gather some mushrooms for awhile.

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.