Wild Food Profile: Eat Your Hostas!

Often, when you are interested in unusual and wild foods, a season for a delectable treat may only last for a few short days or weeks. A fun early spring food that is usually popping up around or before Beltane in temperate parts of North America is the hosta. Yes, you heard me–that large leafy […]

via Wild Food Profile: Eat Your Hostas! — The Druid’s Garden

Have You Seen These Amazing Wildflowers?

Greetings!

First, I want to say “thank you!” to everyone who pre-registered for the upcoming Wild Edible Plant & Mushroom Outing (featuring Sam Thayer!) on June 2nd.  The event filled to max capacity within 24 hours and registration is now closed.  Stay tuned for another exciting Learn Your Land event to be held in early July!

Second, let’s talk about flowers.

If you’re a wildflower enthusiast like me, perhaps you’ll agree that the spring ephemeral wildflower season is one of the best times of year to explore the woods.

What’s not to love about a hillside teeming with White Trillium?  Or a vernal pool speckled with Marsh Marigold? Or a floodplain loaded with Virginia Bluebells?

Personally, I can’t think of a spring ephemeral wildflower I don’t like.  No matter the color, no matter the size… each one is a superstar in its own special way.

Recently, I took to the woods in search of these fleeting flowers and tried my best to capture the magic on film.  The sky was sunny, the air was warm, and plenty of plants were blooming that afternoon.  Needless to say, the wildflowers definitely put on a good show.  Check it out!

Speaking of ephemeral organisms, morel mushrooms are making grand appearances all over the woods right now.  Depending on where you live, these choice edible fungi may currently be fruiting in your neck of the woods.  Check out this recent Instagram post to learn more about these elusive springtime fungi!

Thanks for reading and watching, and as always, thank you for your support!

-Adam Haritan

CREATING HERB GARDENS WITH CHILDREN

Visit http://www.kidsgardening.org/ for more fun gardening ideas at school or at home. Herbs arouse kids’ curiosity and interest because they thoroughly engage the senses. What better motivator for student investigations than plants that feel cool, smell great, and can turn mere tomatoes into pizza sauce? Their life stories, it turns out, are fascinating too. After all, […]

via Creating Herb Gardens With Children — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

HERBARIUM PROJECT FOR CHILDREN

An herbarium is a collection of dried plants that botanists use for studying, identifying, and classifying plants. Making an herbarium is a great way for kids and their parents to learn about botany and the plants used in herbalism. An herbarium will help you and your child get to know what plants look like, along with […]

via HERBARIUM PROJECT FOR CHILDREN — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Wild Edible Plant & Mushroom Outing with Sam Thayer & Adam Haritan

Greetings!

I am extremely excited to announce that I will be co-hosting the upcoming Wild Edible Plant & Mushroom Outing with Sam Thayer on Saturday, June 2nd.  Sam is a nationally recognized foraging instructor and the author of three popular foraging books, including The Forager’s HarvestNature’s Garden, and Incredible Wild Edibles.

He will be traveling from his home in Wisconsin to spend the day with us in Western Pennsylvania for the Wild Edible Plant & Mushroom Outing.  This event is an all-day outdoor excursion designed to improve your identification skills by introducing you to a variety of edible species that grow in the early weeks of summer.

During the first part of the event, we will explore Pennsylvania’s beautiful Moraine State Park by hiking a 1.5-mile trail alongside the park’s main feature, Lake Arthur.  While walking, we’ll discuss the plants and mushrooms that inhabit the grassy meadows, lakeside ecosystems, and wooded habitats.

In the afternoon, we’ll head to nearby McConnells Mill State Park to explore 2.5 miles of the North Country Trail and its notable hemlock-lined ravines, sugar maple slopes, and sandstone cliffs… all while discussing the area’s unique plants and mushrooms.

Interested?  Here are more details:

What: Wild Edible Plant & Mushroom Outing with Sam Thayer & Adam Haritan
When: Saturday, June 2nd, 2018
Where: Moraine & McConnells Mill State Parks, Western Pennsylvania
Time: 9:00 AM — 6:00 PM

Please note that in order to maximize your learning experience, space for this event is limited to approximately 25 participants.  Registration with payment in advance is required.

To purchase your ticket, and to learn more about the outing, please visit this link:  Wild Edible Plant & Mushroom Outing

We’d love to see you there!

-Adam Haritan

Honey Bees; Heros of Our Planet

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Have you ever had the opportunity to observe the busy work of a tiny honey bee as it meanders from flower to flower on a clear, sunny day? There’s something truly captivating about honey bees that draw us deeper into their world. We see honey bees frequently in books, movies, and television, where they are often associated with making hives filled with delicious, golden honey. You might recall reading about a hungry bear character in search of the honey bee’s golden treasures in various children’s stories. Honey bees are known for their production of honey and beeswax, as well as the large role they play in the pollination of plants and flowers. Honey bees can also be considered super-organisms due to their complex social systems and dynamic, tight-knit interactions with one another and their environments.

Bee Species

There are actually seven recognized species of honey bee within the genus Apis…

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Indefinitely Wild; Foraging Wild Strawberries

Good Witches Homestead

Once abundant, wild strawberries provided helpful medicine to Native Americans and early settlers.

Picture it; An abandoned field of wild strawberries, ripe and shimmering under a bright June sun. The field is isolated, bounded on three sides by leafy, benevolent hardwoods. A light breeze moves gently through the leaves and sparse grasses.

A Berry in History

I’m not alone, of course, in my love of this summertime fruit. The wild strawberry {Fragaria virginiana, or F. vesca} held a special place in the lives of several Native American tribes – in their mythology, diets, and medicine – which they shared with early settlers.

In Medicinal and Other Uses of North American Plants, Charlotte Erichsen-Brown reveals some uses of the wild strawberry plant through the eyes of early Europeans, whose research was likely based on what they learned from these native tribes as well as their own observations. From…

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The Common Backyard Plant That Treats Breast Cancer & Repairs Wounds

Greetings!

On Sunday, April 22nd, I’ll be leading the Wild Medicinal Mushroom Workshop at Una Biologicals in Pittsburgh.  This is a 2-hour class that will focus on the medicinal properties and health benefits associated with various local wild fungi.  Participants will learn the steps involved in making mushroom decoctions and tinctures, and everyone will receive starting materials to create a personalized medicinal mushroom extraction!

Space for this class is limited, and if you’re interested in attending, you can pre-register by following this link:  Wild Medicinal Mushroom Workshop

Moving forward, let’s talk about Stinging Nettle.

Some people love it, and some people dislike it, though there’s no denying Stinging Nettle’s potential role in treating serious illnesses.

Last year, I filmed a video in which I discussed this plant’s ability to treat type 2 diabetes, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and allergies.

Since then, many more scientific studies have been published on Stinging Nettle’s therapeutic qualities.

For example, in the past two years, three studies have documented Stinging Nettle’s ability to treat breast cancer.  Another recent study discovered that Stinging Nettle can significantly enhance the wound-healing process.  And one more recent study evaluated the best way to make an infusion (i.e. “tea”) from Stinging Nettle in order to extract the maximum amount of vitamin C (which itself is associated with numerous health benefits).

After personally digging into the research on Stinging Nettle, I felt the need to share the latest information with you.  If you’re interested in optimizing your personal health utilizing locally sourced, wild edible plants… check out this brand new video!

Thanks for reading and watching, and perhaps I’ll see you at the Wild Medicinal Mushroom Workshop on April 22nd!

-Adam Haritan

Food as Medicine: Dog Rose Hip (Rosa canina, Rosaceae)

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

The rose (Rosa spp.) hip (also sometimes written as “rosehip”) is a pseudofruit in the economically important Rosaceae family, which includes apple (Malus spp.), strawberry (Fragaria spp.), plum (Prunusspp.), and almond (Prunus spp.). The genus Rosa includes more than 100 species that have been cultivated since ancient times in a vast array of climates.1 Both rose petals and rose hips can be used in culinary and herbal preparations. Rose plants grow as shrubs and are characterized by thorny stems, compound, serrated leaves, and attractive, colorful flowers.2 Different species of roses are native to areas around the world from Europe to Japan, where they have a long history of culinary and medicinal use.3 Today, roses are cultivated commercially for ornamental and medicinal purposes in Europe and Asia, but wild varieties are also found in North and South America.

The rose hip is an aggregate…

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Foraging for Fiddleheads {Well, Sort Of}

Good Witches Homestead

After a long winter, we delight in those emerging specks of green that mark the start of the growing season. The air might still carry a chill, but that doesn’t deter us from heading to the farmer’s market to catch the first glimpses of fresh, local produce. Among the baskets of root vegetables and early spring herbs, you’ll often find fiddleheads, the coiled fronds of the ostrich fern {Matteuccia struthiopteris}. In the ground, these deep-green curled stems will later unfurl into tall ferns ranging from two to even six feet in height, but in this early stage, they resemble the neck of their namesake; the fiddle.

For Our Body

As with many spring greens, fiddleheads offer much-needed nutrients after a long winter. To start, they’re a great source of vitamins A and C {4,052 IU and 2.6 mg per half cup, raw, respectively}. They also contain potassium and manganese, which…

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