What It Takes To Find Morel Mushrooms

Experience has shown me that morel mushroom hunting involves no less than three general factors.

Luck.

Like a first-time bowler who bowls a 200 game, some people find morel mushroom honey holes without even trying.

Skill.

This is a somewhat more predictable factor.  Without proper awareness of habitat, timing, and tree associations, a successful morel hunt will be impaired.

Persistence.

Any inveterate morel hunter will tell you that leg work is essential.  In order to consistently find, one must fearlessly seek.

During a recent excursion in the woods, I found several morels near elms and tulip poplars.  Instead of harvesting every mushroom and calling it a day, I decided to film a video and analyze the specific factors involved in finding such a bounty.

The following analysis parallels the specific points mentioned in the previous video (“6 Reasons You Can’t Find Morels”) in order to help you better locate these elusive fungi.

You can watch the brand new video here.

Experience has also shown me that encountering spring migratory birds can be just as exciting as finding morels.  This particular bird spent his winter in Central America and has recently returned to the wilds of Pennsylvania.  Have you seen him or heard his song?  Check out the latest Instagram post to learn more.Click to view post

I was a recent guest on the Awake Aware Alive podcast hosted by Jacob Gossel.  In this interview, we discuss many topics including how to read landscapes more effectively, the importance of learning directly from humans, and what I think about ticks.  You can listen to the interview through one of the following links:

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

6 Reasons You Can’t Find Morel Mushrooms

Some wild mushrooms are easy to locate and are so large that single specimens can easily weigh 15 pounds.

Morels are different. 

They’re not easy to locate.  Their season is short.  And multiple specimens are required just to provide a single meal.  Still, morels are among the most coveted of all wild fungi.

Every year countless foragers eagerly head to the woods in search of these treasured mushrooms, and every year countless foragers dishearteningly leave the woods without them.

If you are someone who cannot seem to find morel mushrooms no matter how hard you try, check out the following video.  In it, I discuss 6 common reasons why people have trouble locating these elusive fungi.

You can watch the brand new video here.

Like clockwork, this migratory bird sings in my neck of the woods three to four weeks before morel mushrooms appear.  Are you familiar with this harbinger of spring? Check out the latest Instagram post to learn more!Click to view post

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

A Prescription For Swans (new video!)

The arrival of spring can easily be seen on a lake.

Melting ice, blossoming poplars, and migrating waterfowl are among its most faithful signs.  Like an unerring calendar, the lake reminds us that the darkest days have expired and a season of growth awaits.

While walking the shores of a local lake one chilly morning, I observed and heard several signs of spring.  One sound in particular, emanating from the center of the water, caught my attention.

As I approached the sound, its intensity changed from a periodic “coo” to a chorus of whistles.  Too early for spring peepers and wood frogs, I thought to myself, but not too early for something else I had hoped to find.

Tundra swans.

I peered through the cattails and alder shrubs to confirm my hunches.  The icy lake hosted hundreds of tundra swans that had stopped for a visit on their journey to the Arctic.  With a camera in hand, I decided to document the experience while musing on the subtle power of swans to heal.

If you’re interested in seeing tundra swans up close, check out the new video!

Less vocal and numerous but still a sign of spring’s impending arrival are these diminutive diving ducks.  Have you seen any buffleheads this year?  To read about my recent encounter with a small flock, check out the latest Instagram post!Click to view post

In case you missed it, here’s a recent interview I did with The Mushroom Hour podcast.  In this interview, we discuss many topics including nature connection, reciprocal living, and supporting land conservation trusts.  You can listen to the interview through one of the following links:

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Eat 84 Grams Of Mushrooms. Here’s Why

Mushrooms have come a long way in recent years.

Formerly classified as primitive plants in the taxonomic sense and as white vegetables in the culinary sense, fungi have since risen above their woefully outdated labels.

In the ecological context, we’ve learned that mushrooms are anything but primitive.  In the nutritional context, we’ve learned that mushrooms are dietary superstars.

Subsequently, it seems that there are just as many reasons to appreciate mushrooms as there are to eat them.  Human health, it turns out, is one overlapping reason.

Corroborating this motive is new research published in the journal Food, Science, & Nutrition.  In a recent study, researchers concluded that eating a small serving of mushrooms can have measurable and positive effects on human health.

In a brand new video, I discuss four important findings revealed in this study.  If you’re interested in learning the ways in which mushrooms can improve your health, check it out!

Like fungi, the American beaver has made considerable progress in recent years.  Formerly classified as extirpated in many states, beavers can now be found in urban parks.  To read about a morning encounter I had with North America’s largest rodent, check out the latest Instagram post!Click to view post

I was a recent guest on The Mushroom Hour podcast.  In the interview, we discuss many topics related to nature connection, supporting land conservation trusts, foraging wild water, and more.  You can listen to the interview through one of the following links:

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

The Trick To Finding Edible Winter Mushrooms

Cloudy skies.  Frigid temperatures.  Frozen soils. 

Winter in my neck of the woods is a faithful provider of all those conditions and more.

Most wild creatures left the scene months agobut a handful of them — fungi included — remain active and reveal themselves to anyone with a desire to look.

Take Flammulina velutipes, for instance. 

Also known as Enoki, this wild edible fungus actually thrives in cold weather.  While many wild fungi retreat as temperatures fall, Enoki fruits prolifically with the help of antifreeze compounds produced within its tissues.

Enoki is also a fairly predictable fungus.  It associates with a particular tree that commonly grows in eastern North America.  If you know the name of this tree, you’ll have no trouble locating wild Enoki mushrooms.

In a brand new video, I discuss a few tips to help you identify and find this tree in the wild.  If you’re interested in learning more, check it out!

Another wild creature that hasn’t fled the scene completely is the Cedar Waxwing.  I recently observed a flock of these beautiful birds feasting in a local apple orchard.  To read about this encounter, check out the latest Instagram post.Click to view post

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

This Edible Mushroom Grows In Human Bodies

For better or for worse, untold numbers of fungi live on and within our bodies. 

Some of these fungi are faithful allies.  Others can harm our bodies only under certain circumstances.  Almost all of them, it turns out, are microscopic and mostly undetectable to the naked eye.

But what about the larger mushrooms that live in forests?  Do they ever engage in any sort of physical relationship with humans?

For a very long time, mushroom-forming fungi were never known to grow inside human bodies.  Instead, molds and yeasts — including species of Candida and Aspergillus — were almost always the main culprits implicated in human disease.

And then something strange happened.  In 1950, a doctor treated a 33-year-old man for fungal overgrowth of his toes.  Upon isolating the fungus, the doctor discovered that his patient’s foot infection was attributed not to any of the usual mold-producing suspects, but instead to a mushroom-forming species that commonly grows on trees.

Since that shocking discovery 70 years ago, researchers have documented this wild fungus growing on and within other human bodies.  To date, almost 100 cases of infection and a few unexpected deaths have been reported.

During a recent walk through a local floodplain, I encountered this fascinating mushroom and decided to film a video regarding its bizarre tendency to do such a thing — to colonize human bodies and cause infection.

Check out the brand new video to learn more!

In addition to the sights of tree-eating mushrooms, a January walk through my local woods is likely to yield splendid sightings of wintering songbirds.  Pictured here is one such bird who demonstrates something known as differential migration.  In short, males overwinter farther north than females.  Why is this?  Check out this recent Instagram post to learn more.Click to view post

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

This Tree Wins The Award For “Worst Christmas Tree”

Greetings,

Before I share a brand new video with you, I want to provide a reminder that today — Monday, December 21st—  is the last day to register for Foraging Wild Mushrooms.  After today, registration will be closed for the season.

If you want to learn the skills involved in safely and successfully harvesting wild mushrooms with confidence, Foraging Wild Mushrooms can help you achieve that goal.

Click here to register before midnight.

And now onto this week’s brand new video.

The declining temperatures, sunlight, and vitamin D levels have all ushered in the official arrival of winter — a season in which humans enjoy bringing trees indoors.

But not just any tree, of course.  Conifer trees — and more specifically pines, spruces, and firs — are among the most harvested and celebrated trees during the holiday season.

Some of these trees are soft and flexible (e.g., white pine).  Others are lush and aromatic (e.g., balsam fir).  All of them, it goes without saying, are perpetually green.

But there is one conifer tree that has never made the cut, and chances are good that, if you do consider yourself an arboreal celebrant of the holiday season, you’ve never invited this particular tree into your home.

In fact, out of all the trees discussed so far, this one would certainly be labeled “The Worst Christmas Tree.”

During a recent walk through a conifer landscape, I encountered this special tree and decided to film a video in which I attempted to answer several pertinent questions.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the brand new video!

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Foraging Wild Mushrooms — Online Course Is Now Open For Enrollment!

Greetings!

The winter mushroom season is almost upon us, and at the request of those eager to pursue educational opportunities during the winter months, I’ve decided to open the doors to Foraging Wild Mushrooms for the next 7 days. 

This 4-season online course is designed to help you safely, successfully, and confidently forage wild mushrooms from the forest, from the field, and even from your own backyard.

Whether you’re interested in foraging for food, for medicine, for study, or just for fun, Foraging Wild Mushrooms covers the most important lessons to get you started.

In addition to over 70 step-by-step exclusive and instructional videos included within the course, you’ll also receive:

  • Supplemental handouts covering mushroom anatomy, terminology, and biology that you can download and print for easy viewing.
  • A 42-page guide to medicinal mushrooms that summarizes the latest research on the most popular medicinal fungi with over 75 peer-reviewed references.
  • Immediate and lifetime access to all materials.

Additionally, a portion of all proceeds derived from course sales will be donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to protect and restore exceptional places and forests for the benefit of present and future generations.

Since 1932, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has protected more than a quarter-million acres of natural places.  To express gratitude, and to ensure that these and many more wild places exist for generations to come, I find it imperative to support organizations that in turn directly support the land.

Therefore, a portion of all proceeds derived from this enrollment period will be donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for use in land conservation.

Please note that enrollment for Foraging Wild Mushrooms is open for one week only — from today until Monday, December 21st.  After that, enrollment will be closed for the season.

To learn more about the course, check out this video which gives an overview of what you can expect.

Thanks for your continued support, and I hope to see you in there!
—Adam Haritan

6 Trees You Can Easily Identify By Smell

As winter approaches, tree identification can pose many problems to those of us who typically rely on flowers, fruits, and foliage for clues.

Fortunately, trees don’t completely disappear during the coldest months, and although their winter outfits may conceal several diagnostic features, dormant trees still offer us a few critical pieces of information.

Take smell, for instance.

Many trees produce unique aromas and odors that can be detected when we scratch their fresh twigs.  These aromas will oftentimes lead us to a positive identification when other features fail to do so. 

In a brand new video, I discuss six trees that you can easily identify by smell.  If you’re interested in improving your winter tree identification skills, check it out!

Unlike deciduous trees in my neck of the woods, many creatures do not go dormant during the winter season.  I recently encountered this semi-aquatic animal while I was exploring the bank of a swift stream.  Are you familiar with this carnivore?  Check out the most recent Instagram post to learn more.Click to view post

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Yellow Knight: Thoughts On Eating A “Deadly” Mushroom

To determine whether a mushroom is edible or not, time is one factor worth considering. 

A mushroom that has been eaten for centuries with few adverse events reported is a mushroom that most people would consider to be edible. 

On the other hand, a mushroom with a centuries-old reputation of being toxic is certainly a mushroom whose edibility should be called into serious question, even in modern times.

But not all mushrooms fit neatly into those two categories.

Take the Yellow Knight, for instance. 

The Yellow Knight is a wild mushroom that had been safely eaten for centuries.  In the 1990s, however, consumption of the Yellow Knight suddenly and unexpectedly became linked to multiple human poisonings.  Some of these poisonings resulted in death.

During a recent walk through a pine forest, I encountered the infamous Yellow Knight mushroom.  After careful consideration, I decided to harvest the mushroom and cook it, and in the following video I explain why I would do such a thing.

If you are interested in learning more about a common yet controversial fall mushroom, check out the brand new video!

Deeper into the forest full of Yellow Knight mushrooms, this wildflower was blossoming under red pine trees.  Known as Yellow Ladies’ Tresses, this orchid is involved in a tangled web of specialized relationships.  Check out this recent Instagram post to learn more.Click to view post

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan