Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May "News from the Woods" Newsletter

News from the Woods
a monthly digest of resources, events, and people
in forestry & agroforestry

May 2016


Welcome to the monthly news of Wellspring Forest Farm and School.

Each month, we share useful information about methods for improving forest health and increasing productivity and diversity, along with the happenings of our farm and educational programs.

The newsletter will be emailed to you each month. You can read it in your email, download the attached PDF, or view it on our website. You are welcome to unsubscribe at any time. Instructions at the bottom of this email.

For the trees,
Steve & Elizabeth

In the Woods

May marks a dramatic transition in the forest, where the spring thaw has paved the way for a remarkable window in time, where many spring ephemeral plants emerge from hiding. Ephemeral means “lasting a markedly brief time,” which is exactly what they do.

One of the most desired of these plants are Wild Leeks, or Ramps (Allium tricoccum).

Recently, interest in this wild edible has led to concerns they are being overharvested. We wrote an article for the Farming the Woods blog about the issue, which you can read here.

If you want to try your hand at cultivating ramps, these videos from the ExtensionForest Farming site will help you get started.

As you roam the woods, keep an eye out for ephemerals, which are some of the most unique and beautiful plants in the forest. Here is a photo essay to help you ID some of them.

On the Farm

Mushrooms are starting to pop at the farm! We had the first of our Cold Weather Shiitake emerge in the past few weeks. These mushrooms are adapted to the “swing” seasons and fruit in response to the dramatically changing temperatures in spring and fall.

See this article from Field and Forest Products for more information on these beautiful shrooms.

For those in the Finger Lakes Region, consider joining our 2016 CSA to receive a half or full pound of fresh mushrooms each week from mid June - mid September.

We grow shiitake, oyster, and lions mane on logs from sustainably managed forests and oysters on organic straw in our greenhouse. We forage and offer chanterelles, chicken-of-the woods, and other wild mushrooms in medley shares as available.

The CSA runs from the second week in June through the second week in September, for a total of 14 weeks.  You can choose SHIITAKE ONLY or the MUSHROOM MEDLY as options.

$112 for a half pound ($8/week)
$200 for a full pound ($14/week, 10% discount)

Pick-up locations:

Thursdays at the Westy Bar in Ithaca (alongside Plowbreak Farm CSA pick-up) from 5 - 7pm

Fridays at Sweetland Farm CSAhttp://www.sweetlandfarm.org/ pick-up in Trumansburg from 1 - 8pm

Fridays at our farm in Mecklenburg off Buck Hill Rd South.

Featured Articles, Videos, etc

This month, we want to introduce you to Wellspring Farm & School.

Not so long ago, a vast mosaic of forests and trees covered the eastern and Midwestern US. These were old forests that stood the test of time.

These forests were not untouched by human hands; native first nations peoples tended the land for hundreds and in some places thousands of years. When European settlers and conquerors arrived, they enacted as a wholesale destruction of forests, and of culture.

Despite all this, in just the past 60 or 70 years, the forest has begun to return. Yet in our modern management, we still possess a mind of degeneration, and we are collectively denuding the forest back as has been done before. In agriculture, forestland is often considered worthless.

We began the school with one fundamental question:

What does it look like, to restore the eastern forest into productive coexistence?

We are two people (Steve & Elizabeth Gabriel) who steward 10-acres land as a productive forest farm and teaching site.

We are also a community of knowledge-holders, teachers, and stewards, doing the daily work to support healthy forested lands.

Upcoming Events

The Forest Talks
a series of guides hikes in heritage forests of the Finger Lakes

4th Tuesdays from May through October
5:30 - 8:00pm

These walks bring participants to some of the more majestic forests of the finger lakes. Local ecologists & foresters will be our guides as we learn to read the language of the forest and discuss how to apply our observations to management. After the hike we will gather at a nearby pub or coffee shop and continue the conversation.

Farming the Woods: Harness the Power of Mushrooms to Feed, Heal & Restore
June 10, 2016 – June 12, 2016

In this hands-on workshop with Steve, we explore fungal ecology and the ways we can partner with fungi to help solve global problems like ecosystem remediation, food access and distribution, and a range of health issues. Develop the confidence and curiosity you will need to continue exploring the positive potential of the fungal world at home.

See all our events at events.wellspringforestfarm.com

Featured Forest Steward

The steward of the month is Finger Lakes Forester Mike DeMunn. Mike has led a long career as a caretaker for the woods. He has been practicing ecological forestry for three decades and has worked for the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and the Soil and Water District, and for industry as head forester for a large lumber company.
In his youth, Mike was adopted into the Six Nations Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) tribe and his Seneca Hawk Clan Mother Da’ Ha’ da’ nyah meaning “he protects the forest.” His upbringing in a native culture, coupled with his vast experience in the industry working in both private and public sectors, gives Mike a unique and valuable perspective on forest ecology and management. 

Mike is not only an accomplished forester, but also artist and author o two children’s books, “Places of Power” and “The Earth is Good.” Both his painting and writing evokes a contagious passionate love and reverence for the natural world.

Mike is one of the elder mentors of our forest school. Spending time with him in the woods is a special moment. His wisdom flows as he teaches science, history, culture, and technical skills all at once.

Mike is leading the first hike this May as part of the “Forest Talks” series, as well as being the main teacher in our five-day Forestry & Agroforestry Short Course in August. LEARN MORE

Quote of the Month:

"Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested,
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit."

- Wendell Berry


“News from the Woods” is brought to you by:

Wellspring Forest Farm & School
leaving forests in our footsteps
Steve & Elizabeth Gabriel
Mecklenburg, NY

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