GET TO THE SOURCE
All our batches are slow cooked and blended with the best ingredients. We feel that Chaga is a gateway mushroom to learn about fungi and the ecosystem. It is a unique and powerful gift that shouldn't be overharvested. We make sure our suppliers are using the most sustainable techniques and we encourage forest regrowth strategies.
The word Chaga was first mentioned to me years ago by my Uncle Gary in New Hampshire. He had heard a rumor it was good for you. Gary was into growing oyster mushrooms and shiitakes so it was only natural. Sometime in early March, up in the mountains in a remote region of nowhere, we decided to go for it...
In the Mountains…
It was early Spring and the ground still frozen. We trekked for 2 hours, then came up to a hill. The walk up was a pain, a sheet of ice disguised under an inch of snow. As we all lost hope, I made a mad dash for the birch stand. I had gone maybe 20 feet before I almost tripped over a perfectly cut "Y" shaped log, like as if someone had cut the top of a tree off. Sure enough in the middle of that birch log was a hacked Chaga. I was too late.
10 months and many hours of research later…
We make another run at it. This time, we’re not just amateurs, we’re novices. With the due diligence out of the way and equipped to the teeth, we find ourselves trudging up a frozen brook. The first guy clears the gap where we see ice water zipping by. The second guy shifts his weight to take the lunge and his back leg smashes through the ice. Damn that’s cold. Up ahead we sit on some rocks by the stream and he changes his socks (novice packing move).
But wait, sometimes when you take a minute, you end up having to take 2 or 3… Sure enough, right in our vicinity, maybe 25 feet up was a big Chaga. There was no way we could climb that tree, it was shear straight length for at least 30’. We gazed for a few minutes, then began to feel like we were the ones being watched.
After we retreated from that foreboding Chaga, we walked directly into the grove. We figured all those rabbit tracks had to lead somewhere. Lingering just above eye level was another one. Like a scab on the tree, we took a small third not to overly expose the sclerotium. Little chips of golden brown and black flakes dusted the base of a gray birch, and after showing profuse gratitude and thanks, we picked up and moved on.
For a long time, I used to only make Chaga tea. I’d experiment with different flavors and spices. Then one day it hit me. THIS SHOULD BE A SODA!
After a lot of experimenting—including an ill advised explosive first batch with white sugar—we found THE formula in batch #27. To me it was like the same flavor I drank in the 90s, but richer and straight from the Earth. This was a really healthy soda, a super-food soft drink, and after making it for my friends and family, they were convinced that I needed to take it a step further.
But I hesitated. Why would I ever want anyone knowing about Chaga? It's such a rare resource.
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