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.

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!

 

Why South Hill Forest Products is Good for your Health!

All products made and sold through South Hill Forest Products contain immense amount of medicinal and nutritional properties. While your taste buds are soaking our scrumptious merchandise your body is also reaping all their benefits.

Maple Syrup

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Professor Navindra Seeram of University of Rhode Island has recently discovered that maple syrup contains 20 compounds that are beneficial to human health. These anti oxidant compounds are reported to have anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and anti-diabetic properties. Anti oxidant compounds found in maple sap is a result of the maple tree’s bark constant exposure to sun. It is believed that syrup has a has a higher concentration of these compounds since it is boiled down to a highly concentrated liquid.

Oyster Mushrooms
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Oyster mushrooms are highly nutritious and contain elements essential for heightened immune function. This high protein food contain B vitamins such as riboflavin and pantothenic acid, and essential minerals including copper, selenium and potassium. Medicinal compounds of mushrooms include glycoproteins, natural antibiotics, enzymes, and enzyme inhibitors.

Honey
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Honey contains a plethora of medicinal qualities, and has been a common affective folk remedy for many ailments. Honey is an excellent source of carbohydrates and is consumed by athletes to boost energy and reduce muscle fatigue. Honey contains anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, and antimicrobial properties. Honey has can also be used in first aid situations. When applied to burns and wounds it helps prevent against affections, reduces the appearance of scars and expedites the healing process. Honey is probably most commonly used to heal sore throats since its antimicrobial properties work to kill infection causing agents. After a long night of drinking honey should be consumed the morning after to abate nasty hangover symptoms since it is believed to speed up the oxidation processes of the liver.
Mycelium Running

Wholly Shiitake Mushrooms

Well, looks like it’s not just Italian Oysters that are being grown by NTFP students. This weekend, our class had the extreme pleasure of visiting local shiitake mushroom expert, Steve Sierigk.

He welcomed us to his beautiful home with open arms, and taught us how to inoculate logs with shiitake mushroom spawn. We all took turns with the power drill (woot, power tools), the spawn inoculators, and the hot wax to seal the moisture in. We inoculated over 20 logs! Look below to see what this process looks like:
Each hole that was drilled was filled with shiitake spawn mixed with sawdust. These holes were covered with hot wax.
Steve was very informative and enthusiastic about his work. Although the weather was quite cold, our hearts were warmed by Steve’s passion. We were joined by his loving wife, Ann, and his two lovable dogs. We were fed the most delicious shiitake soup, venison chili, chocolate brownies, and carrot cake–all homecooked, of course!
This soup was the shiit…ake.

Steve gave us a tour of his entire shiitake farm, which was part of his 100+ acre land. It was incredible to see how much manual labor is put into this process. Steve told us that this year, they are inoculating 500 logs! Although many logs are used, he prefers to use oak logs for shiitakes. The logs that we inoculated this weekend will begin to fruit in April…2013!

A glance at part of Steve’s shiitake farm.
 All in all, it was an amazing experience. We thank Steve and his wife so much. The coolest part is that growing shiitakes isn’t even Steve’s main profession! He works as an artist for a local eco-friendly paper products company called, Acorn Designs. Check them out! And feel free to contact Steve if you’re interested in helping out with the shiitakes this summer!
The class showing their inoculated logs off (Steve is in the back right with the blue hat)!

DID YOU KNOW: Our professor, Jason Hamilton, informed us that “shii” means “oak,” and “take” means “mushroom.” So the literal translation of shiitake is “oak mushroom.” No wonder Steve prefers to use oak logs!

Now, Let’s Review

South Hill Forest Products members would tell anyone that our mushrooms are the tastiest, most palatable, scrumdiddlyumptious mushrooms around, but what do our customers have to say about them? Josh Eckenrode is the owner of Ithaca’s very own Cafe Dewitt and had some extremely kind words to share about the mushrooms he purchased from us:

“All of the chefs at Cafe Dewitt have been so thrilled by the quality and consistency of the oyster mushrooms from South Hill Forest Products. When I first opened the bag, I could not believe how beautiful the mushrooms were. Once I started cooking with them, I was even more pleased. We have been using the oyster mushrooms in omelette fillings, particularly with bacon, red onion and gryuere cheese. I have also used them in risotto with asiago cheese, and fresh herbs. The texture is so delicate and the flavor so full that I cannot wait to use them in more of our specials. Thank you South Hill Forest Products for the wonderful job you are doing; I cannot wait for the shiitakes!!!”

–Josh Eckenrode

Thank YOU, Josh…and everybody at Cafe Dewitt!

We are so glad that people are enjoying our products and we wouldn’t be in existence if it wasn’t for our beloved customers! More mushrooms are soon to come!