It was a cool, breezy day on August 23rd when Braidy and I embarked upon the Chaga hunt that created Harvest batch #0818. With the added charm of a colourful array of autumn leaves scattering the forest floor, we happily headed out into the bush close to home, in the Township of Day and Bright.
As we typically find most Chaga flourishing along the edges of various waterways, we followed what appeared to be an intermittent stream on the edge of a Hemlock and Cedar swamp. In contrast to our last harvest, we found all of this Chaga growing within reach, so Braidy did not have to climb any trees. This is always a nice bonus as we always aim to tread as lightly on the land, as possible!
On our travels I spied a beautiful spread of Turkey tail mushrooms (trametes versicolor) and decided to leave it be. We have some already and we prefer not to keep a large stock as it is easy to go out and harvest as the need arises. We do this because we believe strongly in only taking what we need. Another benefit of this practice is that we always have the freshest, most nutrient rich product as possible. I marked the location of the Turkey tail on my gps, so that I can return to it when it’s time to replenish our supply.
After gently removing the Chaga from their Birch hosts, we set the conks out to air dry for a day or two, before crushing them. The moisture content in the Chaga makes a big difference in the ease of crushing as well as dictates what sizes of chunks it yields. You may notice that one harvest batch consists of smaller chunks than another and this varies depending on how much moisture is in the conks at the time of harvest, as well as the humidity and temperature of the air during drying.
The very last thing I do before filling jars with my Chaga tea, is quality control. After an enjoyable day at “the office,” sipping a hot cup of Chaga harvest Batch #0818 is my last order of business. Today I’m taste testing my Chaga Chai blend, complimented by a splash of Irish Mist honey liqueur!
Chaga Harvest Batch #0818 is available now in our Store as well as at the The Island Jar in Little Current, Manitoulin Island.
~ Happy tea drinking, Folks! ~