Beware Of Fraudulent Mushroom Products (Many Of Them Are Mislabeled)

A common sentiment among non-foragers is that harvesting wild mushrooms for consumption is dangerous.

“I’ll stick to the mushrooms sold in grocery stores,” the non-foragers say. “They’re much safer.”

Turns out, that’s not always the case.  Commercially sold mushroom products are often mislabeled.  In some instances, the mislabeled products sicken consumers.

A brand new study exposed the widespread inaccuracies associated with commercially sold mushroom products.  Here are 3 major findings from the study:

  1. Many commercially sold “wild” mushrooms are actually cultivated mushrooms.
  2. Of the mushrooms that are actually wild, many of them are not the same species that are listed on the labels.
  3. Some products contain species whose edibility is at best dubious, and at worst potentially toxic.

To shed additional light on the topic of fraudulent mushroom products, I filmed a brief video in which I dig a bit deeper into the study’s discoveries.

You can watch the brand new video here.

You’ll never see this fungus sold in products intended for consumption (unless the product is mislabeled, of course), but you will find it growing in coniferous forests this time of year.  Have you seen anything like it?  To learn more about this club-shaped species, check out the latest Instagram post!Click to view post

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

-Adam Haritan

Heavy Metal Contamination Of Wild Mushrooms — 6 Things To Know

Harvesting edible mushrooms is rewarding. 

Harvesting edible mushrooms that are contaminated with impurities is disappointing and potentially dangerous.

One of the most common questions I receive from concerned foragers is this: 

“I hear that mushrooms bioaccumulate all kinds of substances.  How do I know that the edible mushrooms I’ve harvested are safe for consumption?”

This is an issue that requires a lot of attention.  Fungi, like many living organisms, can harbor all kinds of contaminants, including synthetic chemicals (e.g., pesticides and herbicides), radionuclides, and heavy metals. 

While many factors remain outside the personal control of foragers, several actions can be taken to mitigate harm caused by these contaminants.

To shed light on heavy metal contamination, I created a video in which I answer 6 important questions.  Information in the video includes:

  • The most problematic heavy metals.
  • Habitats that are known to be contaminated.
  • Edible mushrooms that hyper-accumulate heavy metals.
  • Specific parts of mushrooms that are most likely to concentrate heavy metals.
  • Cooking techniques we can implement in the kitchen to reduce contamination.

…and lots more.

The following video is one of over 80 exclusive videos featured in Foraging Wild Mushrooms — a four-season online course designed to help you confidently and successfully forage wild mushrooms.  

Registration for Foraging Wild Mushrooms is open until Monday, May 24th at midnight.  After May 24th, registration will be closed. 

If you’ve ever considered harvesting wild mushrooms but didn’t know where to start, or where to go, or how to discern between edible and poisonous species, Foraging Wild Mushrooms will equip you with the skills necessary to ensure that your harvests are safe and successful. 

To get a sneak peek into the kinds of content found within the course, check out this video.

Please note that this video is available until Monday, May 24th, and will only be available to registered students afterwards.

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

—Adam Haritan

Foraging Wild Mushrooms — Online Course Enrollment Opens Monday

Greetings,

The spring mushroom season is well underway for many of us, and although morels have called it quits in more than a few parts of the country, plenty of additional edible mushrooms will faithfully appear over the next several months.

In anticipation of the late spring/early summer mushroom season, I’m excited to announce that registration for my online course will open on Monday, May 17th.

Foraging Wild Mushrooms is a four-season course designed to help you confidently and successfully forage wild mushrooms.  This course is presented entirely online and it features over 70 exclusive videos that cover all the essentials for beginner-level mushroom hunters, including mushroom ecology; mushroom biology; common edible mushrooms; medicinal mushrooms; poisonous mushrooms; cooking techniques; medicine-making; and more.

Registration for Foraging Wild Mushrooms will be open for one week only, from midnight on May 17th to Monday, May 24th.  After May 24th, registration will be closed.

Upon registration, you can watch the videos at your own pace and you will have access to the course forever.

If you are interested in signing up for Foraging Wild Mushrooms, mark your calendar for Monday, May 17th and visit this link.  All additional information — including course outline and tuition — will be posted on Monday.

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

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