A Forest Grown Future for Pennsylvania’s Precious Ginseng — Good Witches Homestead

In Pennsylvania’s lush, green Appalachian foothills, our North American ginseng thrives. It’s here in these undulating woodlands that Randy has tended our certified organic and forest grown ginseng for more than 30 years. “There are very few people who are cultivating the plant in its wild habitat,” said Jennifer, Mountain Rose Herbs’ Chief Operations Officer. “It’s a […]

via A Forest Grown Future for Pennsylvania’s Precious Ginseng — Good Witches Homestead

Strange Oysters & Other Summer Mushrooms (New Video!)

Greetings!

First, I want to say “thank you!” to every person who has attended one of my foraging programs this year.  One of the best parts of traveling to new areas is meeting and spending time with an incredible number of wonderful people who are thrilled to learn new plants and mushrooms.  I’ve had a blast so far this year hopping around different states and I certainly don’t plan on stopping any time soon!

As a reminder, I’ll be participating in the West Virginia Mushroom Foray from July 19th through the 21st at Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia.  While my Friday morning walk has already filled to max capacity, I’ll be offering a presentation on Saturday for all participants.

Additional instructors this year include such notable authors as Arleen Bessette, Walt Sturgeon, and John Plischke III.

You can learn more about the event by clicking here!

And now on to this week’s brand new video!

Fungally speaking, summer is off to a fruitful start. The ample rains and warmer temperatures have been very conducive to fungal activity here in the Northeast, and if similar conditions persist, 2019 could be a banner year for many summer mushroom species.

While on a recent walk through a local wooded area, I encountered quite an array of mushrooms — some edible, some not so edible, but all fascinating in their own right.

One species in particular caught my eye because of its close resemblance to oyster mushrooms, and upon closer inspection, its true identity was revealed to me.

Have you ever seen a mushroom that looks like this?  Would you consider it to be an oyster mushroom or something else?

Check out the new video to learn more!

Amongst thunderstorms, cloudy skies, and rainbows, this beautiful mushroom contributes significantly to the array of phenomena that characterize the early summer season. Few mushrooms are as photogenic as this one, and if you’d like to learn who this unique fungus is, check out the recent Instagram post!

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

-Adam Haritan

Sonoran Sweetness: A Gathering

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

The cherished time of year in the Sonoran desert is now upon us.  While the desert heats up to temperatures above 110 F, many run for cooler, moister climes and foreign visitors are scorched in a short time.  This heat is necessary, it is a natural process inherent in our desert’s ecology.  To eliminate it in some way would be to lose one of the greatest gifts this desert has to offer us.  Without the intense heat, the fruit of our Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) would not mature properly.  Not many people today know the characteristic sweet taste of the fruit of the Saguaro cactus, known as bahidaj in the Tohono O’odham (native peoples of the Sonoran desert region) language.  It is the O’odham people (often referred to as Papago) who have preserved the knowledge on how to prepare such things as Saguaro syrup (bahidaj sitol), Saguaro jelly…

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Summer Herbals: Estafiate

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Artemisia ludoviciana – Estafiate

Other names: Western Mugwort, Western Wormwood, Louisiana Sagewort, Prairie Sagewort, Mountain Sage, Simonillo, Itzauhyatl (Nahuatl)

Origin: Native throughout the entire western US

Energetics: Warm & Dry. Bitter, Pungent, slightly Astringent. Vital stimulant, Tonic Relaxant

Properties: Digestive, Carminative, Diaphoretic, Aromatic Bitter, Anti-inflammatory, Analgesic, Decongestant, Sedative, Nervine, Hepatic, Cholagogue, Choleretic, Diuretic, Expectorant, Emmenagogue, Anodyne, Anthelmintic, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic, Anti-fungal, Hemostatic, Styptic

Organ Affinities: Liver, gall bladder, gut, nervous system, female reproductive, lungs, muscle tissue, tendons/ligaments, endocrine, brain, skin, blood

Uses: Internally: Indigestion, gas, bloating, poor appetite, acid reflux, GERD, mild constipation, gastritis, diarrhea, IBS symptoms, weakened digestion, gastroenteritis, pinworms, cold, flu, chest congestion, fever, traumatic injuries, amenorrhea, edema, nervous exhaustion, muscle pain.  Externally: Broken bones, bruises, sprains, strains, nosebleeds, insect bites, stings (bee, scorpion), poison ivy rash, rheumatism, moxibustion Other uses from ethnobotanical sources include: Foot deodorant (placed in shoes), poultice of leaves applied to…

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And The Award For June’s Most Bizarre Fungus Goes To…

Greetings!

Before I share a brand new video with you, I wanted to let you know that I’ll be presenting and leading a foraging walk at the annual West Virginia Mushroom Foray.

This upcoming event will take place from July 19th through the 21st at the beautiful Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia, and the lineup of instructors this year includes such notable mycophiles as Arleen Bessette, Walt Sturgeon, and John Plischke III.

You can learn more about the event by clicking here!

And now on to this week’s brand new video!

It’s not every day that you get to see a fungus that appears once every 17 years in your neck of the woods.  Such is the case with a fungal species that targets periodical cicadas.

Over the past few weeks, periodical cicadas have been emerging in parts of western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.  Associated with the appearance of these cicadas is an incredibly fascinating fungus that destroys the genitals and alters the behaviors of these ephemeral insects.

Needless to say, this pathogenic species is highly deserving of the title “June’s Most Bizarre Fungus,” and if you’re interested in learning more about its relationship with our beloved cicadas, check out the brand new video!

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

-Adam Haritan

Edible Flower Biscuits

Wylde and Green

I always think there is something wonderfully decadent about eating flowers. They make any plate of food come to life with colour and a sense of the unexpected. I have wanted to make real flower biscuits for a while, but I had to wait until I had the right flowers. This weekend was perfect, we had a grey morning to fill and I had a small team of eager helpers. Firstly you need to pick the flowers. A simple list of edible flowers is below, pick the flowers when they are dry.

  • Borage (Starflower)
  • Broad Bean flowers – in season at the moment
  • Calendula
  • Chives
  • Coriander
  • Cornflower
  • Courgette Flower
  • Daisy
  • Elderflower
  • Honeysuckle
  • Lavender
  • Nasturtiums
  • Pansies and Violas
  • Pinks
  • Rose
  • Sage
  • Snapdragons
  • Wild Primrose

b6337084-24a2-4e48-92b1-b8d2f5d7edcaIngredients List;

  • For the biscuits —
    125g butter
    55g caster sugar
    180g plain flour
  • To decorate —
    icing Sugar
    egg white
    edible flowers
    caster sugar

Method:

  • Heat…

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Wood Sorrel Mini-Cream Tarts: Wild Food Treats — Gather Victoria

​Here’s another recipe from “Gather Cookbook” for Gather Patrons! I’m releasing a few of last year’s recipes to the Gather website – so the rest of you can see what you’re missing! First up was a Chunky Rose Petal Pesto (recipe here) and now these creamy & tangy yogurt mini-tarts. Made by processing wood sorrel leaves…

via Wood Sorrel Mini-Cream Tarts: Wild Food Treats — Gather Victoria

Chunky Rose Petal Pesto: Summer Savour — Gather Victoria

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” Maud Hart Lovelace It’s been a whole year since I first started working on the “Gather Cookbook” for Gather Patrons. And since I’m going to be adding some new summer solstice recipes to the cookbook this…

via Chunky Rose Petal Pesto: Summer Savour — Gather Victoria

Drying Herbs for Infused Oils

Wylde and Green

I can sometimes find the world of growing and making your own natural products a little overwhelming and complex, so I really wanted to share what I believe is the very easiest and best way to start. And that is growing and drying some herbs, and then infusing them in oil. It is a simple, lovely process that will reward you with an oil that is easy to use, and full of  many beneficial properties.

Oils feed and nourish the skin, leaving it soft and smooth, and many of the components in essential oils extracted from the herb in the infusing process are small enough to travel through the skin and into the body. So, rather than using a bought body lotion in the mornings or after a bath and shower, it is a great alternative to use a home grown and infused herbal oil. It is an even better idea…

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What’s Not To Love About These Wild Plants?

Greetings!

Before I share a brand new video with you, I wanted to let you know that I’ll be leading several mushroom programs at the Great Lakes Forager’s Gathering in southern Michigan from June 20th to June 23rd… and I’d love to see you there!

The Great Lakes Forager’s Gathering is the largest annual gathering of wild food enthusiasts in the Great Lakes region and features a variety of classes covering foraging, cooking with wild foods, and other traditional skills.  The lineup of instructors this year is quite impressive, featuring such notable teachers as Samuel Thayer and Jim McDonald.

You can learn more about the event by clicking here.

And now on to this week’s brand new video!

With only a few days left in the month of May, things are starting to appear more summery than spring-like.  The warm temperatures, humid air, abundant sunshine, and green canopies remind us that, as lovely as it can be, spring can only do so much for us before its reins are handed over to the next season.

To celebrate the final weeks of spring, I decided to explore the woods in search of interesting plants and wildflowers that thrive during the transitional time between the two seasons.  On a recent walk through a beautiful wooded area, I encountered two plants that were truly worthy of documentation.

If you’re interested in seeing the two wild plants that are too easy to love, check out the new video!

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

-Adam Haritan