A Winter Tip To Help You Find Morel Mushrooms

Nature is full of signs.

Tracks, pellets, and clouds reveal information to the astute observer who pays attention.  Nothing is meaningless when awareness is practiced.  Every track, tree, and titmouse means something.

So it goes with mushrooms.  Every mushroom relays information to the person who pays attention.

As an example, consider velvet foot (Flammulina velutipes) — a cold-loving mushroom that provides food and medicine.  This mushroom reveals something that field guides and educators rarely mention:

Velvet foot can easily help us find morel mushrooms.

How so?  In this brand new video, I explain the connection.

I’d also like to mention that today is the last day to receive $100 off your purchase of Foraging Wild Mushrooms.  This online course is designed to help you safely and successfully harvest wild mushrooms from the forest, from the field, and from your own backyard — even during the winter season!

You can register here.

Thank you for your continued support.

— Adam Haritan

6 Tips To Help You Find More Edible Mushrooms This Winter

Winter might not seem like an ideal time to find wild edible mushrooms, but let me assure you:  edible mushrooms can be found during the coldest months of the year.

Many fungi are psychrophilic (“cold” + “loving”).  They require cold temperatures to grow.  Examples of habitats that support psychrophilic fungi include permafrost, glacial ice, and off-shore polar waters.

Fortunately, local forests also support cold-loving mushrooms, so while it might be fun to look for fungi on icebergs this winter season, we can simply hunt our local woods instead.

To help you find more edible mushrooms this winter season, I created a video in which I share 6 tips that will greatly improve your harvest.  (The 6th tip in particular sounds counterintuitive but is quite effective when you implement it.)

You can watch the video here.

I’d also like to mention that the video is one of over 80 exclusive videos featured in Foraging Wild Mushrooms — a four-season online course designed to help you successfully forage wild mushrooms.

The online course is currently open for enrollment and on sale ($100 off) until Monday, December 19.  To get a sneak peek into the kinds of content found within the course, check out the video.

*Please note that this video is publicly available until Monday, December 19.  It will only be available to registered students afterwards.

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

—Adam Haritan

Improve Your Tree Identification Skills This Autumn

Years ago, I didn’t have much of an appreciation for the months of October and November. 

Becoming a devout student of trees changed that.

In my early days of tree identification, I placed too much emphasis on the spring and summer seasons.  Everything was lively and green, I reasoned.  What more did I need?

As time went on, I inevitably ran into problems whose solutions would only be found in the autumn season. 

I remember seeing an oak in the summer season whose leaves contained deep sinuses.  Scarlet oak and pin oak were two candidates, but my beginner’s mind required more information.  Once autumn arrived, I easily identified the tree based on its acorns.  (Scarlet oak acorns contain concentric rings.)

I also remember seeing an ash tree but being unable to determine its exact identity.  Once autumn arrived, I easily identified the tree based on its color.  (White ash foliage turns yellow to purplish; green ash foliage turns yellowish-brown.)

I could share more examples of how the autumn season provided answers to my most pressing questions.  Suffice to say, I now rank the months of October and November as among the most important for honing tree identification skills.

To help you hone your tree identification skills this autumn season, I am opening up registration for my online course next week.

Trees In All Seasons is a four-season online video course designed to help you successfully identify over 100 trees in every season — spring, summer, fall, and winter.

This course is presented entirely online and it features over 75 exclusive videos that lay the groundwork for successful tree identification.  If you are interested in identifying trees but are finding it difficult to learn through field guides and apps, consider enrolling as a student in Trees In All Seasons.  

Please note:  Trees In All Seasons will be open for registration for one week only from Monday, October 17th to Monday, October 24th.  Upon registration, you have immediate access to all course content and you can watch the videos at your own pace.

To register for Trees In All Seasons, mark your calendar for Monday, October 17th and visit this link.

All additional information (including course structure, outline, and cost) will be posted on Monday.

I look forward to seeing you then!
— Adam Haritan

To Squash Or Not To Squash: Musings On Invasive Species

Lanternfly
The devil was on one shoulder.  An angel on the other. Both were telling me how to proceed, but I couldn’t decipher which voice belonged to which entity. “Cut the bag open,” one voice instructed.” Leave it alone,” said the other. Apparently, my former sense of good and evil was blurred.  Who was the devil, and who was the angel? It all started when I was driving on a backcountry road in Pennsylvania.  I encountered a stand of tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) whose trunks were adorned with plastic contraptions. “Spotted lanternfly traps,” I thought to myself. Curious to see how effective the contraptions were, I pulled over.  The traps were constructed 5 feet from the bases of the trees.  Each trap was clearly occupied.  I decided to take a closer look. The first trap held dozens of spiders and beetles — some of them alive, many of them dead.  The number of spotted lanternflies within this trap equaled exactly zero. I then checked trap number two.  Like the first trap, this one also held dozens of spiders and beetles.  The number of spotted lanternflies within this trap also equaled exactly zero. Every trap was like this.  None contained a single spotted lanternfly.  All imprisoned spiders and beetles. Thinking what my role in all of this should be, I soon found myself accompanied by two supernatural advisors — one on each shoulder. Cut the bags open?  Or walk away?  Cutting them open — or at least permanently disabling the traps — would release the living insects and ensure that no more would perish.  Doing so, however, would benefit spotted lanternflies — insects that are deemed invasive and destructive in North America.  What was the right thing to do? Questions on the topic of invasive species weren’t new to me.  They had materialized before.  What was right?  What was wrong?  What was good?  What was bad?  Who belonged?  Who didn’t? After much pondering over the years, I’ve come to realize that questions will always be plentiful.  In a brand new video, I ask several questions on the fascinating topic of invasive species.  Few of these questions have simple answers, but all are deeply considered. If you are interested in hearing my thoughts, you can watch the video here. Thank you for your support.
— Adam Haritan

The Deadliest Plant In North America

In 1992, a 23-year-old man and his 39-year-old brother were foraging for wild ginseng in Maine.  The younger brother harvested several plants from a swampy area and took three bites from the root of one plant.  The older brother took one bite from the same root.

Within three hours, the younger brother died.  The older brother lived, though not without experiencing seizures and delirium.

The offending plant, of course, was not wild ginseng.  It was water hemlock (Cicuta maculata). 

Water hemlock is considered the most toxic plant in North America.  Some sources even consider water hemlock to be the most toxic plant in the Northern Hemisphere.

As it turns out, water hemlock is not a single species.  Water hemlock represents multiple species that all contain a potent toxin.  This toxin disrupts the central nervous system and can lead to death if prompt treatment isn’t given.

I recently spent some time in the presence of two water hemlock species.  If you’re interested in learning how to identify these deadly plants, check out the new video!

Thanks for reading and watching, and thank you for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Foraging The Elusive Mayapple

Tropical fruit flavors are not commonly detected in my neck of the woods.  When they are, the experience is unforgettable.

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) is an eastern North American plant whose ripe fruit tastes like a mix between pineapple and Starburst candy.  All other parts of the plant (e.g., rhizomes, leaves, stems, and unripe fruits) are considered toxic.

My first encounter with a ripe mayapple fruit was unforgettable.  I actually smelled the fruit before I saw it.  Within seconds of harvesting, I indulged in what little edible material was available.  The taste was ambrosial — almost too good to be true — and from that day forward I became a devout seeker of ripe mayapple fruits.

As it turns out, conditions this year have been very good for mayapple fruits.  Foragers in many locations have been reporting bountiful harvests.  Because conditions have been fruitful, I decided to film a video in which I discuss key tips for improving your yield. 

If you are interested in becoming a devout seeker of ripe mayapple fruits, check out the video!

Foraging Wild Mushrooms is an online course that is currently open for enrollment until September 2nd.  This go-at-your-own-pace video course is perfect for beginners who are looking to develop their skills.  If you are eager to harvest wild mushrooms but don’t know where to start or where to go, Foraging Wild Mushrooms will equip you with the necessary skills to ensure that your harvests are safe and rewarding.  You can learn more by clicking this link.

Thanks for reading and watching, and thank you for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Is This Invasive Plant Killing Wetlands?

Menace.  Monster.  Barbarian.  Scourge.  Thug.  Outlaw.  Killer.

All these terms have been used in one publication or another to describe a single species whose common name is a bit less provocative.

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).

This showy plant was introduced to North America from Europe in the early 1800s.  Since then, purple loosestrife has spread itself far and wide across the North American continent.

Today, purple loosestrife is considered a noxious weed throughout many parts of North America.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature even lists purple loosestrife as one of the 100 worst invasive alien species in the world.

But not everyone agrees that this “purple menace” is a serious threat. 

Some researchers think that the problems associated with purple loosestrife invasion are exaggerated.  Some researchers even think that purple loosestrife invasion is associated with positive effects in North America.

Who are we to believe?  How can people be so divided over a single plant?  What does the research really say?  Is purple loosestrife a serious ecological threat or not? 

We explore the topic of purple loosestrife invasion in a brand new video.  If you are interested in learning more about this purported wetland killer, check it out!

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

-Adam Haritan

How To Find Pawpaws In The Wild

Good food is bestowed upon those who scout.

This is especially true when we consider what it takes to harvest pawpaws.

Pawpaws are incredibly delicious fruits that are produced by pawpaw trees (Asimina triloba).  Green and kidney-shaped, these tropical-tasting berries are considered to be the largest edible fruits produced by any native North American tree.

Many people are interested in finding pawpaws for the first time this year.  Some people will wait until the fruits are ripe in September to begin their search.

I would suggest another approach:  begin your search right now. 

Scouting the land in advance is an essential part of harvesting wild food.  When preparatory work has been done ahead of time, successful harvests are much more likely to occur.  Such is the case when we understand what it takes to find pawpaws.

What does preparatory work look like?  How do we begin our search for pawpaws?  What kinds of habitats are worth exploring?

I answer all those questions in a brand new video.  If you are interested in harvesting pawpaws this year, check it out!

I was a recent guest on the Silvercore Podcast hosted by Travis Bader.  In this conversation, we chat about foraging, the importance of learning trees, and why money is necessary to protect land.  You can listen to the interview here.

Click to listen

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

-Adam Haritan

Learn To Identify 100 Trees In All Seasons

Greetings,

I am very excited to announce that registration for my brand new online course will be open on Monday, May 23rd.

Trees In All Seasons is a four-season online video course designed to help you successfully identify over 100 trees in every season — spring, summer, fall, and winter.  Additional topics that are featured in this course include tree ecology, physiology, anatomy, and taxonomy.

This course is presented entirely online and it features over 75 exclusive videos that lay the groundwork for successful tree identification.  If you are interested in identifying trees but are finding it difficult to learn through field guides and apps, consider enrolling as a student in Trees In All Seasons.  

Please note:  Trees In All Seasons will be open for registration for two weeks only from Monday, May 23rd to Monday, June 6th.  Upon registration, you have immediate access to all course content and you can watch the videos at your own pace.

To register for Trees In All Seasons, mark your calendar for Monday, May 23rd and visit this link.

All additional information (including course structure, outline, and cost) will be posted on Monday.

My good friend Aaron Watson recently invited me on to his podcast to discuss my work with Trees In All Seasons and Learn Your Land.  To learn more about the course, as well as my motives in creating the course, check out the recent interview:
Part 1
Part 2

I look forward to seeing you on Monday!
-Adam Haritan

How Do I Deal With Ticks?

Greetings,

Before I share a new video with you, I want to provide some exciting news regarding the upcoming online tree identification course. 

After many years of diligent work, I’m happy to announce that the brand new course — Trees In All Seasons — will be released in May.  This online video course is designed to teach students how to confidently and successfully identify over 100 trees in every season — spring, summer, fall, and winter.  Additional topics that are featured in this course include taxonomy, ecology, physiology, and general natural history.

If you are interested in identifying trees but are finding it difficult to learn through field guides and apps, consider enrolling in Trees In All Seasons this May.  To receive updates regarding the initial release of the course, simply remain a subscriber to this newsletter.

And now on to the brand new video…

It’s no secret that I spend a lot of time in the woods.  It’s also no secret that the woods in which I spend my time harbor some of the most reviled organisms on Earth.

Ticks.

Because I share many of my outdoor adventures on video, and because I live in a state (Pennsylvania) whose Lyme disease cases are extraordinarily high, people naturally want to know how I deal with ticks. 

What precautions do I take?  What repellents do I recommend?  How much duct tape do I wrap around my socks?  What does diet have to do with all of this?

Questions regarding ticks are among the most common questions that I receive.  To compile my thoughts and concerns, I decided to film a video in which I discuss my 6-part strategy.

To learn how I deal with ticks, check out the brand new video!

In addition to harboring ticks, the woods in which I spend my time are home to beautiful wildflowers.  Pictured here are 15 wildflowers that blossom during the early weeks of spring in the northeastern United States.  Have you seen any of these flowers recently?  To view a larger image, check out the latest Instagram post.

Click to view post

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

-Adam Haritan