November News Letter

It’s fall for a little while here in Western North Carolina and the colors are on fire. I love to be out among the trees as they shed their leaves. For me this is a time of transition, of making medicine and simply enjoying the season changes. The markets are winding down but still got a few to highlight. Black Mountain will go until November 23rd (their holiday market) and I will be there for the November 16th one. East Asheville market will have a holiday market on Friday, December 13th, from 3-6pm, inside the church. The last Burnsville, Yancey county market is Saturday, November 9th and I’ll be out there. Asheville Community Yoga will host a holiday art market on November 10th from 10 am to 6 pm, at the studio and I’ll have my table set up. And that’ll be another great tail gate market season complete, it was a pleasure as always meeting new people and sharing my knowledge and products. Thanks to everyone who came to support me and my venture!!

This months feature is the often overlooked but medicinally, wonderful Turkey Tail mushroom. This little friend is quite common all over our region. Turkey Tail love downed branches and dying tree trunks, as they are decomposes. The best way to tell if you have true Turkey Tail is the underside. It has to be white. There is false Turkey Tail, Violet Toothed Polypores and others similar to it but all those do not have the white bottoms, some really close to that. Some people use these for soup stocks or trail gum and some have showed promise of medicinal benefits. Turkey Tail come in all sorts of colors in ringed patterns on the top sides. Purples, blues, browns, grays and greens are some of those colors. They are Polypores, so no gills, instead little, tiny teeth or pores. Sometimes they can feel like sand paper. Turkey Tail is one of the most researched mushrooms in Western medicine. It is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy due to it’s immune boosting qualities, helping to rebuild the immune system after treatments. Needless to say it is Anti-Cancer. It helps the digestive system do it’s job. They are full of Anti-Oxidants, Polysaccharopeptides which are immune boosters, combat HPV, reduce inflammation, and are safe for canine cancers. The best way to consume Turkey Tail is by making a tea or tincture. Look around while hiking and I’m sure you will see them, especially this time of year. Here’s a few shots of look alikes.

Besides Turkey Tail you may still find Puffballs, of coarse the most wonderful and king, Chaga that grows all year long, Lions Mane, Blewits, Late Fall Oysters, Conks, Beefsteaks and a few others, so keep hunting!!

Hope to see ya’ll at the remaining markets. It’s the best time of year to stock up on immune boosting mushroom teas and tinctures and keep healthy all winter long. Happy fall, enjoy the beauty that is our home!

***Update****

For the rest of the year I will be offering private tours. $30 for an hour, hour and half. I will work with your availability and location. Individual or small groups. Last chance to learn some mushrooms and plants before they all go hibernate!

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

September News Letter

Dare I say fall is at the door step. What a summer in the mushroom world, so many amazingly huge flushes made for good foraging fun in the forest. Having observed and foraged for many years now, it’s interesting to witness how unpredictable the seasons can be from year to year. Some mushrooms growing at times they didn’t the year before, some are more abundant than previous years and some are less abundant. Just mother nature keeping us guessing. Fall brings us some wonderful stuff and marks the last few months of gathering before the long winter.

As September begins I’m off on a westward adventure for a few weeks. I will be traveling to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, antelope canyon and all places in-between with my partner. This means a break from walks and markets. I will try and squeeze in a few more walks when I return on the 23rd and resume markets that week as well. I will however be at the East Asheville tail gate market this Friday the 6th from 3-6 and this Saturday, the 7th at the Black Mountain market from 9-12. So if you have any tincture or tea needs before I go this would be the chance to grab them, so come see me.

The highlights of this month are two great mushrooms, Honeys and Hens. The Honey mushrooms can bring some confusion and uncertainty. Interesting fact about Honey mushrooms, they are the largest living organism, covering 2,385 acres, that’s just one long network of mycelium that was recorded in Oregon. It also may be the oldest living organism estimated to be between 2,400-8,650 years old!! Honeys have a few distinct characteristics. They grow in clusters, sometimes at the base of trees, sometimes just by themselves on the ground. Honeys usually have rings, vales on the top of the stems, they have little black speckles on the cap, light, tan colored gills and stringy stems. The spore print of Honeys is white and you can often observe this within the clusters, one growing on top of another often leaves that white, powdery print on the caps of the ones below it. There are two types, ringed and ringless. Ringless have smoother caps without speckles and no vale or ring, hence the name. The look alike to Honeys is called the Deadly Galerina, which have more helmet like caps, are darker brown and dark brown gills, however the stems look very similar.  

Sautéing Honey mushrooms in butter and oil with some fresh herbs is always great. The stringy stems are super good! A slight caution is that Honeys have been known to cause some gastrointestinal issues and best eaten in small portions.                  

Below is the Deadly Galerina:

Hen of the Wood, also known as Maitake, is the other feature of the month. These mushrooms are some of my favorites! I love the taste of Hens and finding them can be challenging and I love that, they blend in really well with the forest floor. To start the season of the Hens, they grow in high elevations before making their way down to the lower elevations. They typically grow at the base of Oak trees. Hens are medicinal, having immune boosting qualities, contain high levels of vitamin D, may help fight cancers, contain anti-oxidants, and protect against diabetes. That’s good, healthy eating. They are a real gem in the mushroom world!

Sometimes they get mistaken for the Black Staining polypore. Which is also edible but not nearly as good.

Here’s a tasty recipe for Hens and Honeys by the Forager Chef:

https://foragerchef.com/roasted-maitake-steaks-with-anchovy-sauce/

Sauteed Honey Mushroom Caps and Stems

The plant of the month is the Kousa Dogwood and it’s tasty fruit. The flower of the Dogwood tree is our official state flower. The fruits are red and plump and can be a highly enjoyable treat. The secret here is to pick the fruit when it’s bright red and ripe, otherwise it could have a real bitter taste.

Here’s one idea of what do with the fruits: http://www.lessnoise-moregreen.com/2013/09/foraging-for-kousa-dogwood-berries-and.html

I’m looking forward to getting out of town for alittle and coming back refreshed and ready to pick up where I’m leaving off. I’ll be sharing my adventures when I return for sure. Enjoy the change in the seasons, the cooler nights and the upcoming colors of fall! Hope everyone gets out there and enjoys the tastes of September. As always happy hunting…..