Hawk Meadow Farm Field Trip

On Sunday, South Hill Forest Products took a field trip to Hawk Meadow Farm, a shiitake mushroom farm in Trumansburg, NY, owned and operated by Anne and Steve Sierigk.

Anne and Steve started out with Acorn Designs, their graphic design business, and grew shiitake mushrooms on the side. Shiitakes became more and more lucrative for them, however, as Steve started building relationships with local restaurants. Now they sell to specialty restaurants on a weekly basis, all within 30 miles of the farm, and produce hundreds of pounds of shiitakes each summer.

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Steve shows us his growing area. Logs are soaked in the creek, and then stacked on a gravel platform to help deter slugs.

They offer a wide range of products from their farm besides shiitakes, although that is their main product. They are also producing some vegetables such as rhubarb, onions, and garlic, and beginning to sell black locust posts which are naturally rot resistant.

Expanding from shiitake growing, they are also starting to offer shiitake tinctures made from cold-weather strains. These shiitake varieties are part of traditional Japanese herbalism and have been found to boost the immune system, is a potent antiviral and antibacterial, and can reduce platelet aggregation.

harvesting

Inoculated logs, ready to fruit.

As a class, we got to inoculate poplar and bitternut hickory logs with shiitake and oyster mushroom spawn from Field and Forest. We drilled 1/2-inch holes along the log, 6 inches apart in a row and 2 inches between each row, offset by 3 inches. We then plugged each hole with spawn-infused sawdust, and covered the hole in wax to keep out competing fungi.

To top off our morning on the farm, Anne and Steve shared with us some carrot soup and miso soup, made from ingredients grown in their own garden — and their own shiitake mushrooms! We also learned that in a macrobiotic diet, a bowl of miso soup each day keeps the doctor away.

We are so lucky to have Steve and Anne as our local shiitake resource! Be sure to check out the classes they offer on shiitake cultivation, herbalism, and more.

Oh, and their dogs are adorable.

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Happy puppy 😀

Happy Earth Day!

This Earth Day, South Hill Forest Products is praising the power of mushrooms!

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             Three years ago right around Earth Day, 11 lives were lost as the Deepwater Horizon oilrig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion released inordinate amounts of oil, reaching the coastline over the next few days and sending plumes into the depths of the Gulf.

BP Oil Spill

Various clean up methods were applied in the Gulf of Mexico to reduce the impacts from this devastating spill. These methods include (but are not limited to): the chemical dispersant Corexit 9527, surface burns, microbial additions, and passive collection sorbents. However, one technique that has yet to be applied widespread in the Gulf of Mexico post-Deepwater Horizon Spill is mycoremediation. According to Paul Stamets, fungi can actually aid in recovery of damaged ecosystems caused by human activity or natural disasters, making mycoremediation an excellent choice for reducing the effects of the Deepwater Horizon Spill.

Mycoremediation is a form of mycorestoration that involves repairing the weakened immune system of ecosystems by denaturing of toxic wastes and absorbing heavy metals. Fungi are excellent molecular disassemblers, as they can easily break down long-chained hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water. Enzymes such as lignin peroxidases, manganese peroxidases, and laccases are secreted by the vegetative part of the fungi (mycelia) and allow for the break down of hydrogen-carbon and carbon-carbon bonds.

According to Paul Stamets’ book, Mycelium Running, mycoremediation is one of the most inexpensive ways to remediate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from soil. Mycoremediation was used to mitigate the San Francisco Bay Oil Spill of 2007. Oyster mushrooms, Pleurotus ostreatus, were grown on mats of human hair that had absorbed oil on the surface of the bay. In most circumstances, surface oil would be burned off, releasing toxins into the air that can spread for miles. By using the oyster mushrooms, the toxins did not become volatile and spread, and the oyster mushrooms facilitated the creation of fertilizer, which was then used for landscaping.

Here are some photos from an experiment conducted by Stamets. See the results for yourself!
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Mushrooms, including the Oyster mushrooms that we grow here at Ithaca College, certainly are great restorative agents to repair damaged ecosystems.

And for that, South Hill Forest Products praises the power of mushrooms this Earth Day!

For more information about the power of mushrooms,check out Paul Stamets TED Talk:

6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World.

Maple Syrup vs. White Sugar

          If you’re looking for a delicious way to use South Hill Forest Products syrup,  try using it to replace processed white sugar in things like coffee, tea, or baked goods. In recent studies it has been found that maple syrup is a healthy alternative to processed white sugar. A report in the January 2009 issue of the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association stated that maple syrup has a higher antioxidant content than processed pure sugar. It has also been shown that pure maple syrup contains healthy minerals such as calcium, sodium, copper and potassium while processed white sugar tends to lack them. To replace white sugar with South Hill Forest Product Syrup try the recipe below!

Maple Latte Recipe

 Ingredients:

  • 1 serving of coffee
  • 1-2 teaspoons of pure maple syrup (Grade A light or medium)
  • Milk

Directions:

Pour the cup of freshly brewed espresso into a mug, stirring in the maple syrup. Then, lightly spoon in steamed milk.

Sweet Tip: If you have a regular coffee maker at home without a milk steamer, we recommend lightly scalding ¼ of milk in a small pot. When ready, remove the pot from the stove and lightly froth the milk with a milk frother. 

A Successful Open House

We had our biggest open house yet! Fellow students, faculty, and members of the community came out to the sugar bush this past Saturday. During the open house, we were boiling our last sap of the season. Demonstrations were given of how we boil our sap in to syrup, tap trees, and chop wood. People were allowed to get their hands dirty and try all of these activities. After a hard days work, a pancake breakfast and baked apples were served with our mouth-watering maple syrup. Thank you to everyone who came out to the sugar bush. We hope to see you next year.
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Photo by Lee Ann Hill

Our 3rd Annual Open House!

This Saturday we have a very special event for everyone. From 10am-2pm we will be opening up our sugar bush for a special look into our operations!

Our free open house will feature

  •  Sampling of South Hill Forest Products
  •  Syrup production, tree tapping, beekeeping, primitive skills, and wood splitting demonstrations
  •  Music
  •  Maple syrup and mushrooms sales by cash or check

The Sugar Bush located at the end of Rich Road, off of Coddington Rd. on Ithaca’s South Hill!

Shuttles will be available for transportation from Ithaca College campus to the Sugar Bush every hour at the top of the hour from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. from the bus stop at the Roy H. Park School of Communications.

We look forward to seeing you all at the bush!

 

Meet this season’s crew!

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The faces behind the action! We are the 2013 South Hill Forests Products employees, frontiers  for the company in herb-infused maple syrup, beeswax products (coming soon!), environmental consulting, and soon to be breakers of the all-time maple syrup production record!

(From left to right)

Top row: Madison, Danielle, Lyndsey, Amber

Middle row: Bella, Kanoa, Menli, Blake, Curt, Stephanie and Ian (our awesome Teacher’s Assistants!), Sarah, Holly, Max, Colin, Luca

Bottom row: Jason (the boss), Lee Ann, Christina, Emily, Carolyn, Jess

[Click on the photo for a larger view]