Forest Cultivated Mushrooms, a Rotten Business Webinar with Ken Mudge

Specialty forest mushrooms include such delicacies as shiitake, oyster, lion’s mane and wine cap which can be cultivated on wood substrates, as non-timber forest products for forest farming. Unfortunately, other choice wild edible mushrooms like chanterelles, morels, or boletus are not included because they cannot be deliberately cultivated. Shiitake is by far the most developed of the specialty forest mushrooms from the standpoint of both cultivation and marketing. There are four stages that the prospective grower must consider for forest …

Charcoal Making, Then and Now with Adam Downing and Sanford S. Smith

When producing charcoal in a kiln, it’s important to protect your hands with insulated leather gloves. Leather gloves without insulation will not provide enough protection against the heat of the kiln. It’s also important to wear closed-toed shoes., preferrabley leather work boots.

Kilns for charcoal production come in a variety of styles. A common feature of all kilns is the ability to control oxygen. The control of oxygen within the kiln is critical during the charcoal making process as is …

YouTube Channel Forest Farming Charcoal Series

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent, Adam Downing, explains what to look for when harvesting wood for charcoal or firewood. Hardwood is more dense and makes a better quality charcoal while pine is lighter and burns hotter, making it less desirable for cooking chicken, for instance. Leaving the dead trees on the forest floor is best because it provides habitat for forest dwellers. Live trees should be cut, which will open the canopy and allow the remaining trees to receive …

Forest Botanicals Deep and Tangled Roots Webinar with Eric Burkhart

There are many native plant species on eastern US forestlands that are wild harvested for the domestic and international plant trade. In this talk, Eric Burkhart, Program Director with Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center (Penn State University), will share insights from his studies and involvement with this complex and little understood trade, and highlight the opportunities and challenges facing forest farmers interested in production of forest botanicals for market. Quality-control, profitability, and sustainability within this industry will be discussed along with …

YouTube Channel Reverse Osmosis Series

Reverse osmosis is a process that forces a solution with solvent, in this case sugar, through a membrane using a great amount of pressure. The membrane is constructed from a sheet polymer which allows water molecules to pass through while keeping the sugar molecules behind. This effectively removes much of the water from the sap and reduces the amount of boiling time and energy needed to make syrup. Steve Childs, Cornell University’s Maple Specialist explains the process of reverse osmosis …

YouTube Channel Walnut Syrup Series

Cornell University’s Director of the Uihlein Forest, Michael Farrell, explains the collection of walnut sap through vacuum tubing. Freezing temperatures in early spring cause the tree to go into negative pressure and brings water up from the ground into the tree’s cambium layer. Warming temperatures during the day cause the tree to thaw again which releases the water, now in the form of sap, back down through the cambium. It’s the freezing and thawing events that cause sap to flow …

YouTube Channel Maple Syrup as a Hobby Series

Steve Caccamo, President of Next Generation Maple Products, explains how making maple syrup has become a growing hobby over the years. It’s easy to start out by tapping a few trees in your yard and boiling the sap with a turkey fryer and propane, but it is more cost efficient to use wood. We take a look at a small evaporator that Steve made for his sugar house once he decided to expand his maple syrup production.

YouTube Channel Ostrich Fiddlehead Fern Series

University of Maine’s Agriculture and Non-Timber Forest Products Professional, David Fuller, explains what an ostrich fiddlehead looks like and how it compares with its toxic cousin, the bracken fern. When harvesting fiddleheads, it’s extremely important to choose those from the ostrich fern which are characterized by a hairless, smooth, deep green stem that has a deep groove on the inside. The fiddleheads have a brown, papery substance on the outside of the unfurled frond called ramenta. Ostrich fern fiddleheads should …

YouTube Channel Wasabi Series

Wasabi is generally thought of as a pungent green paste that accompanies sushi. That green paste is more often than not, made up of grated horseradish or mustard. In this video, we take a look at the plant whose grated root makes up the real wasabi. It was traditionally eaten with sushi to combat food poisoning that can result from eating raw fish. Today, it’s considered as the natural condiment for sushi. Joe Hollis, founder of Mountain Gardens, explains what …

From Ginseng to Mushrooms: Goodies from Your Woods Webinar with Jeanine Davis

Forest landowners often want to make some profit from their land, if only to pay the property taxes. Other than cutting timber, which can only be done so often, how can you generate income from your woods? In North America, our forests are often populated with a wide variety of valuable native plants and fungi that can be sustainably wild-harvested and sold. Many others can be introduced and cultivated to provide a steady stream of products to harvest for many …