Friday, September 23, 2016

September News: Storing Vitamin D for Winter, Radical Mycology Convergence

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

September 2016

Welcome to the September news from 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.

This month – read about how fall colors may be affected by the drought, consider the science of storing sunlight in dried shiitake mushrooms, and join us at the Radical Mycology Convergence October 6 – 10.

For the trees,
Steve & Elizabeth

In the Woods

While it may not be a surprise, given the drought, that fall colors will probably be delayed, short in their display, and muted in their brilliance, we can nevertheless glean some useful lessons from this challenging season.

Pay attention to the trees in your woods that change color and drop eariliest – these indeed are likely signs of stress and can help you identify which trees might be best to consider thinning. The sprectrum of health in a woods will become incredibly prominent in the coming weeks, and its useful information for an observant steward. Consider marking stressed trees with flagging, so you can revist them in the winter as you consider candidates for thinning.

Still, if you are aching to see good colors, you might be advised to scout for cooler areas that were not as affected by drought conditions. This guide by Donald Leopold from SUNY ESF is a good summary of some of the best spots in Central NY.

Long term, its uncertain what fates the beloved fall colors of the Northeast will experience from climate change. An interesting series of articles looks at the research of this question, highly recommended reading for those interested.

On the Farm

We have released a FREE article at our website, called “Storing Sunlight for Winter: The Amazing Ability of Mushrooms to Accumulate Vitamin D.”

In it, we explore the science of solar dehydration of mushrooms, which can increase their vitamin D content tremendously.

This is key for many of us in the northern half of the US, as our ability to synthesize D from the sun is eliminated once we get into the winter months.

DOWNLOAD the article at our website "MEDIA" Page

Upcoming Events

On October 6-10, 2016, the 4th Radical Mycology Convergence (RMC) will commence on a land trust in Wingdale to teach participants how mycology (the science of fungi) can address various social and environmental issues.

The schedule has just been released! Steve will be presenting on Friday afternoon, on woodland mushroom production and forest health.

A donation-based, volunteer-run gathering, the RMC is unlike any other mushroom-based event in both its scope of information and grassroots ethos.

By bringing together hundreds of mycologists, fungal enthusiasts, activists, and sustainability advocates, the RMC seeks to spread awareness around how fungi can strengthen the personal, social, and ecological systems of the world in a positive and proactive way.

Check it out at:


Steve is again teaching the popular online course BF 151: Woodland Mushroom Cultivation through the Cornell Small Farm Program, running November 8 – December 13, with Webinars on Tuesday evenings from 6 – 7:30pm EST.

Learn more at:

He will also co-teach an online course in Oyster Production in Barns, High Tunnels, and Greenhouses with Willie Crosby from Fungi Ally in MA, March 1 – April 5 2017:


Finally, we will be appearing at several conferences this fall and winter, to share our experience with mushrooms, agroforestry, and ducks:

October 7 at the Radical Mycology Convergence
"Growing Woodland Mushrooms for Forest Health"

November 11 at NESAWG's It Takes a Region Conference
Panelist on Agroforestry in the Northeast

December 8 at Stone Barn's Young Farmer Conference
"Profitable Shiitake Mushroom Production: What does it take?"

January 20 - 22 at the NOFA-NY Winter Conference
"Profitable Log-Grown Shiitake Production" and "Raising Ducks for Multiple Functions"

Quote of the Month:

“You expected to be sad in the fall.

Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light.

But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen..”

― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast


“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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