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.
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. Hens grow in the fall, usually the end of September and into October. They most always grow at the base of Oak trees and there is usually more than one cluster, so check all sides! 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:
In one epic hunt I broke a personal record that once was 27 pounds. This forage hauled in 47 pounds of beautiful Chaga! Along with my lovely partner, we had an amazing time hiking and collecting the diamond of the forest. As is the practice always, we used sustainable methods to extract the Chaga, leaving 30% to regrow and not harm the tree.
Theres something about being in an old growth forest that gives off the feeling of being in a place that is unquie and frozen in time. Like being inside a fantasy world. I can feel ancestors that long before collected medicine there. Perhaps for me, it’s the getting a little older that really makes me appreciate the wonder of it all a little more than before. This particular forage I felt myself slow down and notice my surroundings completely, enjoy the spring season happening all around. Sometimes tuning in as a practice really helps your focus and awareness but also allows the connection with the place your in to happen. I especially feel like that is definitely a key to a good mushroom hunt. Sort of like listening for them.
I believe this medicine, like all medicinal plants and mushrooms, is here to help us live healthier lives, to treat and cure diseases and illness, and are a part of the grand design. This world, however it was created, seems to have been structured perfectly, with everything people could need, namely food, medicine and shelter. The forest provides and we have to protect and care for it. The greatest threats seem to come from careless human decisions, such as too much development, once protected lands to be sold, mass natural resource extraction, pollution and on and on. When used wholesomely and ethically, nature regenerates and replenishes a lot of what is used.
Chaga has the ability to regrow when harvested right, over and over until the trees death. Now these trees are already doomed that contain Chaga, as it grows from the center out and is slowly killing the tree, acting like a tumor (which for us, it has been shown to reduce tumors).
I believe in a local economy, where the people that live in a community get what they need from their own surroundings. Tailgate and farmers markets, small businesses owned by families or individuals. Farmers and gardeners, hunters and gatherers. We dont need huge companies that use mass amounts of resources, we need to look to our own neighbors and support them.
Wild crafting such as I and many others do is a sustainable practice that provides for the people around us. It’s the way people used to do things, especially the native culture to our home country. I really feel blessed to have found this passion for foraging, teaching, learning and being connected to the natural world and for the chance to share it with others.
All that said, I’ve been feeling pretty grateful having found so much medicine to be able to bring to people who need it!
I did a three day, (well actually four day, had to update this) marathon of Chaga foraging, going to some of my favorite spots in the Blueridge mountains. One of my biggest finds highlighted one day and one piece I’ve been after for months was a huge triumph, on another day (took an hour to get that baby out of the tree, at least twenty feet up). Spring has finally broken through the winters long curtain and it is one of the best times of the year to go out exploring. Flowers are blooming, the leaves are growing back in and mushrooms are creeping out slowly from beneath the soil, waking from their slumber. The black bears are emerging once again and the sun is warmer at last. Having traveled some this winter and not getting out as much as I love to, has pushed me to go into the wild, like days of old. I once hiked everyday without fail for a whole year straight, almost. That passion never leaves me but sometimes sleeps within…it has been refreshing to get back at it! Foraging 3 of the last 4 days in a row brought my spirit some needed peace, I took a day to rest, soak in a hot tub and sit in a steam room to replenish, and have ramped up my adventuring and it feels so good, although it does ache alittle more as I embrace my forties!
As more and more people have come to learn about the healing power of Chaga and other medicinal mushrooms, I have an increased drive to share the gifts of the forest with them. The circle of interest has grown locally and providing healthy, healing, alternative, natural medicine is what I believe to be my calling. We are truly blessed in this region with a very diverse and special environment. Next month will begin the wondrous mushroom season and I cant wait to lead hikes and teach what I know. Stay tuned for more adventures and announcements of what’s going on!
2019 is off to a big start! In the first two months so far I have collected quite a bit of Chaga and been on several hunts. I also got my products in a local health food store called Roots and Fruits Market, that is hosting a Saturday winter market which I have been involved in as well. The Appalachia Guild of Healing Arts, in downtown Asheville also has a nice display of my products. This is all wonderfully exciting news as I continue on living what I love. I’m getting ready for spring and picking up where I left off last year with more mushroom and plant walks and being involved in more tailgate markets. I have also increased my tincture production and looking to add in some new ones such as Birch Polypore, Pipsissewa, Mullen and Rattlesnake Plantain, to help promote healthy livers, kidneys, lungs, urinary tracts and immune systems. I will be doing presentations along with everything else too. Hope to bring more natural medicine to more people this year, come out and find me in and around Asheville. East Asheville tailgate market will open again in May, and Black Mountain tailgate market also in May.
***My next presentation is happening Sunday, March 10th at 12:30-3pm at Kate’s Garden Refuge (375 Presnell Hollow rd) in Burnsville, NC 28714. Kate will be preforming a singing bowl meditation at the end of the event for 30 minutes, which is truly amazing stuff! The event costs $10-20 sliding scale and the singing bowls is by donation.***
On our latest and greatest Chaga hunt we reeled in 31 pounds!! Including the biggest single piece yet, credit goes to my partner in foraging fun Jill Love Phoenix who has developed quite the mushroom eye. The supply is full, get some today and start living a healthier, more mushroom rich life (:
Siberians call it “Gift of God” and “Mushroom of immortality”— Japanse call it “Diamond of the forest” and the Chinese call it “King of plants”
*Contains numerous vitamins including B-1-2+3, K and D-2, Flavonoids, Essential Minerals, Iron, Enzymes and Dietary Fiber.
*It is also one of the world’s densest sources of Pantothenic acid, and this vitamin is needed by the adrenal glands as well as digestive organs. It also contains Riboflavin and Niacin in significant amounts.
*Chaga has an abundance of Beta-D-Glucans which help balance the response of the bodies immune system. This means that chaga helps boosts the immune system when necessary, but slows it down when it’s overactive. Keeps common colds at bay and aids against allergies.
*Reduces inflammation, especially caused by Arthritis.
*Anti-Cancer, it has been shown to reduce the size of cancerous tumors!
*One of the highest Anti-oxidant containing Superfoods (even more than blueberries and Acai berry!!). Provides energy naturally, regulates blood sugar, supports gastrointestinal health; including soothing ulcers, is an anti-viral, and normalizes blood pressure and regulates cholesterol levels.
*Chaga contains high levels of Melanin; Melanin is a complex compound that gives the skin, hair and the iris (colored part of the eye) their color. The amount or concentration of these color pigments determines the appearance of the skin. It can help protect both the skin and hair from sun damage and might even help diminish the size of age spots.
*Chaga has more Potassium than bananas, more Germanium than Turmeric and more Rubidium than Green Tea.
*Gives natural energy that is mellow–long lasting and can boost your mood!
*Chaga has ZERO toxic compounds and can be drank everyday.
*Chaga has been an approved Cancer Treatment in Russia since 1955 and has been used in folk medicine around the world for centuries.
*Chaga can be added to coffee, chai, made into a powerful tincture and mixed with many other herbs such as Reishi, Turkey tail, ginger, licorice root, turmeric, cinnamon, vanilla, and on and on.
*Chaga can be used 3 or 4 times…so it literally gives and gives before it loses it’s medicinal value!
Besides wild crafting, I also lead guided Medicinal and Edible mushroom/plant hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I cover a variety of over 40 useful plants and many trees in our region as well as Identifying poisonous, edible and medicinal mushrooms. My walks last anywhere from one and half to two and half hours in length. Destination hikes such as waterfalls, 360 view balds, and various other places of interest can be arranged. My walks take place in the Asheville area, Black Mounatin, Burnsville, Old Fort and Brevard.
***My typical charge for these hikes is on a sliding scale between $40-$50. Just contact me by phone or email to set up a walk!
***I also do ID walks at private residences, I will come to you! The cost of these walks will be $50 an hour. Email me for more information or to set up a private walk.
Reviews of walks:
“My wife and I joined Kevin for the mushroom/plant walk last weekend – what a great experience! A walk in the beautiful woods of North Carolina, saw lots of mushrooms (both the good kind and the bad kind – now we know the difference), cool plants, and a good group of people. Kevin is very knowledgeable about the mushrooms and plants and is able to explain it in a very easy manner. We had a terrific time, came home with lots of mushrooms, and hope to do it again when the next mushroom season occurs. I already put my knowledge to work and collected a bunch of cinnabar chanterelles today when I came across a patch of them while fishing! Will be eating them tonight!
—Jay M (Black Mountain, NC)
“Kevin led myself and several others on a plant and mushroom ID hike. He was very knowledgeable and also encouraging of us to learn on our own. He recommended a great mushroom ID guide book for the southeast that I’ve already dogeared half a dozen varieties that we found on the hike. Kevin is definitely a friendly and personable guy to be around. We ended our hike with a large basket full of edible mushrooms that we split evenly and I now have lunch for two days, about what the hike cost (very affordable). I plan on doing several more hikes with Kevin later this year.” –Tomas Maly (Asheville)
“We went on a great hike and found so many delicious edible mushrooms and plants! I had fun with Kevin and happy I met a bunch of new friends! I feel much more empowered and confident with new and familiar mushrooms after this walk.”—Alea Tuttle (Asheville)
“I joined a wild plants/ mushrooms foraging walk that Kevin led and loved it so much! We learned so much, had a great time and all went home with some wild foods to eat! I can’t wait to join another walk and I HIGHLY recommend him to others!!!” –Andrea Johnston (Asheville)
“Just got back from a mushroom walk, I learned so much more than I could imagine. As a chef I always love learning more about ingredients I use all the time. I would love to go and find mushrooms again soon! The walk is the perfect amount of time and coming home with so many mushrooms was so enjoyable.” –Margeaux Pierce (Asheville)
“Today I went on a small group hike with Kevin and a few others who were wanting to learn more about edible and medicinal mushrooms. I know a little about edible shrooms but today I know a lot more. Kevin is also knowledgeable about plants as well. Great time and will go again!” –Robert Carter Wallace (Asheville)
“I did a mushroom and plant walk with Kevin. He new a lot about them and was extremely helpful. I learned a lot from the hike. I would highly recommend it if you want to learn about edible mushrooms and plants.”–Parker Bell (Candler)
“As a native of Asheville I’ve always wanted to be better about identifying native plants. There are some I know and many I had questions on.
On this hike he not only answered questions (I didn’t even have to ask) but also was super informative on plants I didn’t even know to ask about as well as mushrooms. I loved it. I’d do it again ( there was so much information I didn’t know I wasn’t aware of that not all of sunk into my brain.)
I highly recommend this! You’re supporting local business and yourself by joining in on this experience. Cheers, Kevin! Thank you SO much!”—Jessie Brandt
“(Review for my mushroom walk) We had such a wonderful time on our walk with Kevin. He brought us to a great spot and showed us TONS of mushroom species (he’s knowledgable about local plant life as well)! It was a beautiful, enlightening experience and we came home with quite the variety of mushrooms to try! Kevin is a lovely human being and clearly cares a lot about what he does, the medicinal benefits, and being ethical in his cultivation. It won’t be my last walk…Highly recommend!” –Tessa Matthes (Asheville)
“Today I had the pleasure of hiking in Montreat with my best friend to find some hidden, edible gems! I have always been interested in foraging, but I never felt confident enough to just gather mushrooms on my own. I can now say I know a handful of varieties to look for and the defining qualities some of those non-toxic and toxic varieties possess! Thank you for a wonderful, educational, wild mushroom foraging experience @kevs1813! I hope to pick your brain again soon… and more shroomies!”
—Mia Bach (Tampa)
” Kevin’s mushroom walks are abundant with harvest, knowledge, edibles and drinkables. He’s ah fun guy who knows his fungi” —Anthony Antonecchia (Asheville)
“Kevin is a fantastic foraging guide. Knowledgeable with lots of experience foraging and focus on the benefits of Chaga. I have a lot of interest in medicinals. He shared a recipes and processing of various plants, roots and of course mushrooms. We loaded up our bags and baskets from the forest, felt like I had been to a gourmet market! I think Kevin should consider doing personal property consultations if not already out there! I would repeat a tour during other seasons to learn more about plants in various stages of growth.” —Holly Foster (Asheville)
***You can contact me for any ordering inquiries, online purchasing or other questions about my products. I accept Paypal, Venmo or Square as payment. If shipping I use either USPS or Fed EX, shipping is charged on orders.***
All products are subject to in stock availability. All products are wild harvested.
Chaga Products: By the pound
1/2 lb- $35
Mason Jar $25
Pre-made Tea bags
4 for $15
*Each teabag makes 2-3 quarts of tea and can be used 3 times before discarding.
Tinctures: 1 oz – $25
2 oz- $35
(Double Extraction Alcohol or Vegetable Glycerin available)
Reishi Products: Whole mason jar full $25
Pre-made tea bags:
4 for $15 – Each teach bag makes 1 quart of tea.
Tinctures: 1 oz $25
(Double Extraction Alcohol or Vegetable Glycerin available)
Turkey Tail: (when in stock) Whole mushroom or shredded $25 mason jar full
Small mason jars of whole or shredded mushroom $20
4 for $15- Each teabag makes 1 quart of tea.
Turkey Tail , Lions Mane, Indian Pipe , Usnea, (Double Extraction Alcohol or Vegetable Glycerin available)
Maitake**(only available in Double Extraction alcohol)**
1oz- $25 2oz- $35
Four of a kind– Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail and Lions Mane
1 oz/$25 2 oz/$35
(Double Extraction Alcohol or Vegetable glycerin available)