The Miracle Of Woodpeckers

Greetings,

A few weeks ago, I decided to explore a familiar wooded area located only a few miles from home.  I didn’t have any particular goal in mind other than to enjoy a rainy afternoon in the company of blooming plants and trees.

Two hours of botanizing had passed before I headed back to the trailhead, fully satisfied having observed oaks, birches, and beeches in flower.

Just before I could complete my hike, however, I was suddenly alerted to a peculiar commotion emanating from the canopy.  I instinctively turned around to look at an American beech tree, and upon doing so I discovered something quite remarkable:  a pileated woodpecker nest, replete with an adult male and two juveniles.

With curiosity and amazement, I observed the adult woodpecker as he regurgitated insects and fed his hungry sons.  The whole ordeal lasted for only a minute before the adult departed and the juveniles retreated back into their nest.

Rather than snap a few photographs and end the interaction there, I decided to visit the nest every day until the juveniles left.

Two weeks later, I was utterly transformed by the entire experience.

In the following video, I discuss my rewarding observations and emotion-rich encounters with these beautiful birds.

If you’ve never experienced an active pileated woodpecker nest up close, this is your chance to do so.

You can watch the brand new video here.

 

Even during dry spells, delicious wild mushrooms occasionally make surprise appearances.  Such was the case with this Lion’s Mane mushroom — an edible fungus that I recently found on a black locust tree.  To learn more about Lion’s Mane, check out this recent Learn Your Land Instagram post.

 

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

-Adam Haritan

Is It Safe To Forage Frozen Mushrooms?

Greetings!

A wintry cold snap, even during the weeks of mid-autumn, can mean different things to different people.

To mushroom hunters, a cold snap any time of the year equates to one or more of the following:

—No mushrooms (Too cold to even bother checking.)
—Fewer mushrooms (Most of which are inedible.)
—Frozen mushrooms (Some of which are choice edible species.)

All three selections are valid, though it is the last option that I’d like to address in this email and in the following video.

You see, quite a few edible mushrooms survive and reproduce in cold temperatures.  It is therefore not uncommon to find edible fungi frozen solid to their substrates.

Recently, I’ve received numerous questions regarding the practice of foraging frozen mushrooms.

Is it safe to do so?  What if the mushroom has been on a tree for weeks?  Does the freeze/thaw cycle alter its texture?

These are all great questions that I address in the following video.  Additional topics discussed in the video include the ability of fungi to produce anti-freeze agents, the destructive effects of freezing on a cellular level, and lots more!

You can check out the brand new video here.

Also, I was recently invited to speak on the topic of mushrooms and gut health with Peggy Schirmer from Gut Feelings.

Fungi, as it turns out, aren’t just residents of forests, fields, parks, and lawns.  They also reside on and inside each and every one of us.

In this interview, we discuss — among many things — the gut mycobiome.  You can check out the interview here.

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

-Adam Haritan

Do You Recognize This Poisonous Plant?

Greetings!

Before I share this week’s video with you, I wanted to provide a quick update regarding the online mushroom foraging video course.  If you’re unaware, I’ve been very busy creating an extensive course designed to teach the necessary skills involved in confidently and successfully foraging wild mushrooms through every season.  The entire course will be available online, and it will feature over 60 brand new instructional videos with guided lessons on:

  • Mushroom ecology
  • Mushroom biology
  • Fungal taxonomy
  • Edible mushrooms
  • Poisonous mushrooms
  • Medicinal mushrooms and extraction techniques
  • Cooking wild mushrooms
  • Mushroom hunting resources

… and lots more.

This project has been a labor of intense love for the past two years and I’m really excited to share it with you!  Registration is set to be open early May, and the best way to stay up-to-date with the release of this course is to continue checking these emails.  Updates will also be posted to the Learn Your Land website shortly.

And now on to this week’s video!

During a recent walk through the woods, I was happy to unexpectedly see a particular medicinal plant whose winter buds and twigs I enjoy.  Upon closer inspection, I realized that not all the buds and twigs in front of me belonged to this medicinal species.

Instead, many shoots around my desired plant actually belonged to a poisonous species.

Luckily, I left the woods unscathed, though I thought I’d film the situation for anyone interested in safely foraging wild medicinal plants.

Do you recognize this poisonous plant?  Check out the brand new video to learn more!

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Sam Sycamore from the Good Life Revival Podcast.  In this interview, we talk about the intersection of health and nature connection, the benefits of knowing how to read the land, and lots more!  You can listen and download the interview here.

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

-Adam Haritan

See more of Adam’s videos at: Learn You Land

Have You Ever Eaten Milk Cap Mushrooms?

Greetings!

I’d like to tell you about wild mushrooms that ooze latex.

Known as “milk cap mushrooms,” these fungi may not seem worthy of anyone’s appetite, though they are certainly a group worth learning!

Milk cap mushrooms form important associations with various trees, and the value of these mushrooms to wildlife (specifically to animals and insects) is high.  Additionally, many milk cap mushrooms have been shown to be sources of naturally occurring rubber.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of milk cap mushrooms (at least from the mycophagist’s perspective) is that some of them are edible… and quite delicious!  Featured in this new video is a milk cap mushroom that perhaps you’ve been overlooking all these years.  If you’re interested in adding a new species to your list, check it out!

Mushrooms grow on all kinds of substrates, including trees, leaves, insects, soil… and hickory husks!  This time of year, a yellowish-orange mushroom can be seen fruiting from hickory and walnut debris.  Have you seen it?  Check out this recent Instagram post to learn more!

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

-Adam Haritan

Locating Wild Deer Truffles ~ And Other Fascinating Fungi!

Greetings!

First, I’d like to say “thank you!” to everyone who attended a Learn Your Land event over the past few months.  It’s always a wonderful experience meeting nature enthusiasts around the country!  I still have plenty of events scheduled throughout the upcoming months.  If you’re local to any of these areas, I’d love to meet you!

September 8, Muskegon, MI: Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club — Fungus Fest
September 9, Owosso, MI: Wild Edibles Walk & Mushroom Outing
September 21-23, Prairie du Chien, WI: Midwest Wild Harvest Festival
October 8, Pittsburgh, PA: Botanical Society of Western PA evening presentation
November 5, Clemson, SC: South Carolina Upstate Mycological Society evening presentation
November 7, Atlanta, GA: Mushroom Club of Georgia evening presentation

For more information on these events, check out the Learn Your Land event calendar.

Moving forward, let’s talk about deer truffles.

These fungi exist a few inches below the surface of the earth in a mutualistic association with various trees.  What’s more, deer truffles are valued food sources for a variety of forest-dwelling animals.

Because they grow underground, deer truffles are among the most elusive fungi in the world.  However, there is a simple trick to finding them, and if you’re interested in finding your very own deer truffles this season, check out the brand new video!

Stinkhorns aren’t your typical mushrooms.  One look at them (and a quick whiff of them!) should hint at their uniqueness.  Pictured here are a few interesting stinkhorns I recently found in a local forest.  Check out this recent Instagram post to learn more!

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

-Adam Haritan

Now’s The Time To Harvest This Great North American Superfood!

Greetings!

I’m excited to partner with Forager’s Harvest in Bruce, Wisconsin for an evening mushroom walk on Thursday, August 9th.  We’ll explore the area in search of summer mushrooms, as well as identify mushrooms that participants bring to the program.  If you’re in the Midwest this August 9th, I’d love to meet you!  More information can be found here.

Next, let’s talk about foods that are super…

When many people think of the word “superfood,” images of expensive powders, fancy juices, and exotic herbs come to mind.

When I think of the word “superfood,” images of local plants, backyard weeds, and brambly fruits come to mind.

As nature would have it, North America (and every habitable continent!) is replete with a cornucopia of superfoods manifested as wild fruits, nuts, seeds, and herbs.

The wild blueberry is one common fruit that, despite its ubiquity, is certainly a superfood in every sense of the word.  Tasty, abundant, and brimming with health-promoting compounds, its value to both humans and wildlife cannot be overstated.

I recently spent some time in the company of a few wild blueberry shrubs and decided to document the experience.  If you’re interested in learning why I recommend the wild blueberry as a regular component of the human diet (and garden!), check out the brand new video!

Have you been finding any choice edible mushrooms lately?  Here’s a list of 8 edible fungi you’re likely to encounter during the warmest weeks of the year… especially after a good rainfall!

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

Adam Haritan

Did You Find Any Morel Mushrooms This Year?

Greetings!

During the weekend of June 8th — 10th, I’ll be participating in the Great Lakes Foragers’ Gathering in Grass Lake, Michigan.  This event is considered to be the largest annual gathering of wild food enthusiasts in the Great Lakes region.  I’ll be leading a few mushroom walks and programs on Saturday and Sunday.  Additional presenters include Samuel Thayer (nationally recognized foraging author), Rachel Mifsud (creator of Will Forage For Food), and several others.  If you’re interested in attending, click here!

Moving forward, let’s talk about spring’s most popular fungi.

Morel mushrooms are among the most alluring and widely recognized wild edible fungi intensively collected by mushroom hunters.

They’re tasty, they’re elusive, and they’re some of the first fungi to appear during the early spring weeks.  No two morel mushroom hunts are the same, and even an “unsuccessful” hunt through an old, familiar spot is likely to yield auxiliary benefits including fresh air, wildflower sightings, and long overdue exercise!

In my neck of the woods, the morel mushroom season is just about finished.  Over the past few weeks, however, I documented a few of my experiences on video.  If you’re interested in seeing what I discovered, check it out!

Speaking of fungi, almost all wild orchid species require relationships with fungi to germinate successfully and grow into beautiful plants.  What’s the reasoning behind this?  And for how long do these intimate relationships last?  Check out this recent Instagram post to learn more!

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

-Adam Haritan