Red Reishi mushroom dual extract tincture

Here’s a look at our label for 100 and 200 ml bottles of Half Hill Farm’s Red Reishi mushroom 1:1 dual extract, a blend of hot water and alcohol extractions of organic Ganoderma lucidum in premium Miron ultraviolet glass.

Our first 29 of our first 100 ml bottles are now available as gifts to those who give $50 or more to our outhouse & workshop shelter project. Your generous gift will also reconnect people to a rural farm experience while changing the way people think about their food and health!

PURCHASE NOW: Buy our Turkey Tail or Red Reishi mushroom 1:1 dual extracts online. Here are links to research of benefits to using dual extracts of Reishi and Turkey Tail.

Here’s our Red Reishi 1:1 dual extract without the label: chocolate, pestled Red Pepper flakes, cinnamon and a daily dose of extract in every bite.

They barely lasted a day. Chocolate from the heart, for the heart! We can’t wait for you to try it.

Help us build an outhouse and shelter to host workshops


You can help change the way people think about their food and health while reconnecting them to a rural farm experience.

Vince and I started our small seven acre USDA Certified Organic farm in rural Woodbury, Tennessee with a mission to become responsible stewards with our resources and to do something positive with our time and energy. We had no idea just how personal that mission would hit home and have created a unique mushroom extract we want to share as well as show people how to create it at home themselves.

A relative’s recent stage IV cancer diagnosis quickly shifted our attention to growing and producing native Turkey Tail mushrooms used as an adjunct therapy to chemo and radiation treatments. Based on the promising results of NIH research and FDA studies on dosages of polysaccharides (PSK) derived from these mushrooms and MD Anderson Cancer Center’s findings that Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) present in mushroom extracts may cure HPV, we’ve created both Shiitake, Turkey Tail and Reishi mushroom extracts we believe can help many people.

To help fulfill our farm’s mission, we need your help to open up our farm to visitors for workshops on growing these and other mushrooms and creating life-enhancing extracts, providing pick-your-own harvests of apples, blueberries and hops, and other educational opportunities.

We’ve created an online fundraising campaign to raise $4,500 that will purchase materials (locally harvested and milled cedar and a special composting toilet) needed to build an accessible outhouse and small 10 x 20 shelter to host workshops and guests.

Here is what you get for your contribution:

  • $50 – you will receive a 100 ml 1:1 Reishi Mushroom extract bottled in Miron ultra-violet glass (retail value: $40) and a postcard thank you!
  • $100 – FREE WORKSHOP (retail value: $50) plus a 100 ml 1:1 Reishi Mushroom extract bottled in Miron ultra-violet glass (retail value: $40) and a postcard thank you!
  • $250 – gets you everything above, plus placement of an inspirational quote of your choice in our outhouse for visitors to read for years to come!
  • $1,000 – gets you everything above, plus a brass plaque dedicating our pavilion in your honor! There is only one of these special gifts available.

We hope you consider giving and can share this link with others. This will help us accommodate visitors and share our passion for making food our medicine and medicine our food.

UPDATE: Half Hill Farm’s Bee Sanctuary Project

Vince and I set up our first chemical free habitat for #Tennessee native solitary #bees between our blueberries and apple trees. This is part of our ongoing Bee Sanctuary Project at Half Hill Farm.

This first structure is 6 feet tall (8 feet counting the stone base) and is made from 8 inch sections of old downed trees on the farm, bamboo from a friend and neighbor and locally milled pine and cedar.

As we were filling the bottom section, a solitary leafcutter bee kept inspecting the whole thing, and it was such a joy to witness. Last year, we noticed our top pollinators weren’t honey bees. They were native solitary orchard masons and leafcutters. Honey bees didn’t show up until very late in the season and frantically scavenged the last of the organic Genovese Basil flowers.

One of the many ways we can help solve the problems we’ve created within honey bee colonies is to rely more on our native diversity of bees and other pollinators. The way we have treated honey bees within massive monocultures in conventional farming is an ongoing lesson in the mismanagement of our natural resources. Be a part of the solution and start a Bee Sanctuary of your own!

Resources to get you started:

UPDATE 4-22-14: Here’s one of a few solitary orchard mason bees taking up residence in our native bee condo this Spring. They’ve been working some of the apple blossoms that made it through the recent Dogwood Winter frost.

Turkey Tail mushrooms and our personal fight against cancer

Trametes Versicolor growing on a down tree at Half Hill Farm.

Just before Thanksgiving, Vince’s mother Sandy went to the hospital with what was believed to be pneumonia. It was determined after a few restless days of testing that she had stage IV non-small cell lung cancer and was quickly put on chemotherapy.

The diagnosis was abrupt and shocking. At 71 years of age, the prognosis is also very uncertain. Despite this, Sandy takes one day at a time with lots of family support, focused treatment and hopefully a little extra help from our own backyard.

Sandy’s primary treatment is carboplatin with thoracentesis as needed to remove a build up of fluid outside her lungs caused by the cancer. After speaking with her oncologist about our research into mushrooms, Vince convinced his mom to take a twice daily dose of Turkey Tail mushrooms (Trametes or Coriolus Versicolor) starting with her first treatment.

Turkey Tails are a common mushroom that grows throughout the woods of Tennessee and all over the world. Our interest in the science behind the anti-viral and anti-cancer properties of Turkey Tails began shortly after seeing preliminary clinical trial results and an anecdotal story in a TED lecture last year by mycologist Paul Stamets. In the last two minutes of the speech, Stamets described his 84 year old mother’s successful fight against stage IV breast cancer that included taking Turkey Tail mushrooms. She was a deeply religious person who hadn’t been to the doctor since 1968. According to Stamets, it was the second worst case of stage IV breast cancer her doctor had ever seen, and she was given three months to live. She’s now cancer free.

The early clinical trial data and Paul’s hopeful story resonated, and Vince didn’t hesitate to start his mother on Turkey Tails. At the same time, we began cultivating this amazing mushroom on our farm with a deeper sense of purpose.

We realize mushrooms aren’t a cure for cancer. Less is known about effects of Turkey Tails on stage IV cancers, but we know it will be the very best way we can help her body heal naturally with virtually no side effects or interference with her primary treatment. Below is some of the science behind how Turkey Tails (used with chemo or radiation) significantly enhance the body’s natural defense against cancer cells and extend disease free survival.

Research: New studies of Turkey Tails here in the U.S. are focused on the mushroom’s high percentage of protein bound polysaccharide (PSK) concentrations and how they help the body fight cancer cells.

Given these results, why aren’t Turkey Tail mushrooms a common adjunct therapy in the United States? What we discovered is using Turkey Tails is still viewed as an alternative medicine by most professional health care providers in the U.S.. Due to its widely known medicinal properties, its use in medicine cannot be patented which limits its commercial appeal for major drug companies. That often leaves finding and researching this treatment option up to patients. That may soon change thanks to new government-funded clinical trial research from the National Institute of Health’s Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

How to take Turkey Tail mushrooms: The most popular way to take Turkey Tail mushrooms is in a capsule, but the body has a hard time digesting the mushroom’s tough chitinous cellular structure (which is why you don’t see recipes for eating it). Capsules are easy to manufacture using ground mycelium grown on rice or grain. The best way to realize the full spectrum of benefits is by taking a decoction (a lengthy hot water extraction to concentrate water soluble polysaccharides and other beneficial compounds). Tinctures are alcohol extractions of adaptogenic triterpenoids. The better quality extract blends both the decoction and tincture in a dual extraction. Capsules that simply grind this mushroom into powder are not extracts and can contain ground up rice used to grow the mycelium. In keeping with our mission, we’ve created a Turkey Tail mushroom dual extract using USDA certified organic mushrooms grown on our farm, USDA certified organic USP alcohol (pharmaceutical grade) and distilled water. Click here to buy our Turkey Tail, Red Reishi, Chaga, or Lion’s Mane mushroom extracts online.

Read more on Half Hill Farm’s mushroom dual extracts:

See more of our products we’ve developed and that have been used successfully by customers since this post:

DISCLAIMER: Please consult your physician before using any of our products for health purposes. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Saving seeds from last year’s crop

Seeds are pretty inexpensive, and you can find just about any variety of anything in the world online. But this year we selected seeds from some of our best organic plants that were left in the garden to fully mature and produce seeds well into Autumn.

I take small brown paper bags, place the seeds in them, label them with the variety and date and allow them to fully dry for a couple weeks. Since warm temps and humidity can ruin your seeds, place them in small airtight jars and then store in a cool place like your fridge.

Fermenting Seed: This year I went a step further with my tomato seeds by fermenting them. This removes the seed’s gel which contains a germination inhibitor and other potential disease. The entire process take about 5 days, but the steps are pretty easy.

 

Take a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of filtered water and place the freshly harvested tomato seeds in the water and sit in a cupboard for 3-5 days. Over time, the seeds will float and then sink. A film or mold will develop over the top and the water will become a little cloudy. It will also smell really bad. This is normal.

Close to the 5th day, or when all the seeds have sunk to the bottom, carefully remove the top film and then add water. What you are wanting to do is stir up the pulp and other sediment to slowly pour off until you can put the seeds in a sieve and rinse. Set them aside on a paper plate (seeds will stick to napkins) to dry. You should have fuzzy seeds ready to plant next year!

How composted yard waste reduces carbon emissions

After reading our story on the front page of our local paper this week, I thought I should post some thoughts and links to supplement the section on compost making.

Making compost can be a tough subject for anyone to write about, but it’s one of the biggest steps I believe we can take toward reducing carbon emissions and understanding the role our own trees, plants and soil play in maintaining a natural balance.

The problem: According to a 2010 report by the EPA, the total global emissions of carbon since the Industrial Revolution are estimated at 270 F 30 Pg (Pg = petagram = 10*15 g = 1 billion ton) due to fossil fuel combustion and 136 F 55 Pg due to changes in land use and agriculture. That’s 400 metric tons of carbon. The potential of soil organic carbon sequestration through composting is roughly 1 F 0.3 Pg C/year, or 1/3 the annual increase in atmospheric CO2 per year (which is 3.3 Pg C/year).

A backyard solution: All of that simply means composting yard wastes could reduce the annual increases in carbon output over the next 20 years by 30%. That’s not through an act of Congress or demanding corporations do anything. That’s a 30% reduction made by each of us in our own backyard. Composting yard waste simply takes all the carbon that your trees and plants sucked out of the air and puts it back in the ground (sequester) where it increases the health of soil, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, increases water conservation and reduces CO2 emissions. When we burn yard wastes or send food wastes to landfills, we release stored carbon and converted methane into the atmosphere and are part of the problem.

How to compost: Compost consists of four things: carbon, nitrogen, air and water. Carbon is pretty much anything brown or dry like leaves, dry grass clippings, chipped wood, or shredded newspaper. Nitrogen is manure, green grass clippings, or compostable kitchen wastes. According to the National Organic Program rules for compost, a compost pile should reach 130 degrees for three consecutive days and be turned a couple times during the process. The carbon to nitrogen (C:N) ratio should be from 25:1 – 40:1. If you don’t have enough oxygen, methane (23 times worse than CO2) is produced. Too much nitrogen and nitrous oxide (296 times worse than CO2) is produced. These two gases are created in landfills when we send our compostable inputs there instead of composting them at home.

To make a working compost pile, you need to make several alternating layers anywhere from 1-6 inches deep of either carbon or nitrogen layers. Each layer of the pile needs to be lightly watered as you make the pile. You can increase the air intake into the pile by building it in a fenced enclosure that exposes the sides, or place PVC pipe with holes in it on the ground before building the pile to allow air to circulate into the pile. After a couple days, you should see the temperature rise. When it begins to fall days or weeks later, turn the pile. After the second turning, leave the pile to cure for a month and then use the resulting rich organic compost as mulch or soil in flower beds and gardens as an alternative to commercial fertilizers.

UPDATE 05-23-14: A study released today by the Rodale Institute shows organic farm practices could overcompensate human carbon output through many required methods of sequestering carbon. Read the report here. Below is an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal post.

Citing 75 studies from peer-reviewed journals, including its own 33-year Farm Systems Trial, Rodale Institute concluded that if all cropland were converted to the regenerative model it would sequester 40% of annual CO2 emissions; changing global pastures to that model would add another 71%, effectively overcompensating for the world’s yearly carbon dioxide emissions.

Organic mushroom production begins at Half Hill Farm

Today is the first day of Fall and the official start of our organic Shiitake and Maitake mushroom production at Half Hill Farm!

This Summer we began working with a couple of local mills to source high quality organic wheat bran and hardwood sawdust for our indoor mushroom grow operation. Maitake jars (Hen of the Woods) and Shiitake blocks start in the Shroomery this weekend. Yesterday, we inoculated about 60 white oak logs we got when Mr. Logan had to take an old tree down after a bad storm.

Everything about growing mushrooms feels right. While producing a food with near magical health benefits, we are also sequestering larger volumes of carbon from felled trees into our soil through compost creating a multi-threaded sustainable loop that increases the health of our soil, our food and ultimately our planet.

Availability: It will take a few weeks before the first mushrooms appear, and you know we’ll post results along the way on Facebook like doting parents.

Our organic mushrooms will be available fresh by the pound to individuals or local restaurants or dry by the ounce online. Starting next year, we’ll host workshops and make fully inoculated logs, blocks and jars for folks wanting to grow their own mushrooms at home.

Organic vittles at the Woodbury Farmers Market

We had no idea our first year’s test patches would produce anything near enough to go to market. Maybe it’s all the rain. Maybe it’s a couple of exciting farm practices working in our favor.

Whatever it is, we’re enjoying meeting our neighbors Saturdays at our local Woodbury Farmers Market just a couple miles from the farm.

We’re one of about seven vendors, and we’re proud to offer our organic produce and small batch craft food products at conventional prices. Some of our seasonal products that will only last as long as the garden puts out are 16 oz. Raw Salsa (our most popular item), 16 oz. Spicy Dill Pickles, 16 oz. Pickled Peperoncinis (my personal favorite!) and 8 oz. Pesto. We also have limited tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, various peppers and basil with sugar baby watermelons and crook-neck summer squash coming soon. The USDA Certified Organic apples and blueberries will start coming in next year. Earlier this Summer, we gave our first harvest of Cascade hops to members of the Middle-State Brew Club and hope to bring more to the market in coming years.

   

If you’re out on Saturdays from 6 a.m. to noon, be sure to stop by the Arts Center of Cannon County (click here for map and driving directions) where the market is located and support local agriculture. You may start seeing construction of a 60 x 100 open-air market pavilion very soon to provide needed space with power and water for local farmers. We’re very excited about the market’s growth and serving our community with quality organic vittles grown and made right here in Woodbury!

Half Hill Farm receives USDA organic certification


Organic cilantro awaits a late planting at Half Hill Farm.

(Woodbury, TN) — Half Hill Farm has become one of Cannon County’s first farms to receive USDA organic certification. Half Hill Farm is a small seven acre farm growing certified organic apples and blueberries with mushroom and hop production starting this year.

Half Hill Farm was created by former Short Mountain Distillery COO Christian Grantham and his partner Vince Oropesa and certified by Quality Certification Services of Florida. Grantham hopes the new venture will provide the community with healthier and sustainable food choices.

“Our community’s nationally recognized taste for good food and drink is just one way Woodbury’s craft heritage continues to shine,” Grantham said. “Dedication to inspected organic farm practices is one way I think local farmers can play an important and responsible role in elevating our Southern food culture.”

Recent changes in state law have inspired a craft brewing renaissance in Tennessee with no local growers of hops, beer’s main bittering and aromatic ingredient. Half Hill Farm is proud to serve the state’s craft brewers as Tennessee’s first organic hops grower.

“As a home brewer, I appreciate what it takes to make a good hand-crafted beer,” Grantham said. “We’re excited to support some of the state’s very best craft brewers with sustainable organic Cascade and Centennial hops.”

Organic farming practices focus on sustainable food production methods that condition and improve the life of our planet’s soil while producing healthier food choices. These practices (cover crops, composting, no-till methods) decrease dependence on harmful inputs and energy use while harnessing the power of nature’s perfect design.

“The idea with organic farming is having high quality foods available for local residents, then the excess can be available for out of town markets,” said Pamela Hoskins, District Conservationist with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “I have always thought that Cannon County is the perfect location for organic growers because of the close proximity to urban areas.”

Shiitake and Maitake (Hen of the Woods) mushroom production at the farm starts later this summer with fresh and dried available in the Fall. Half Hill Farm is also growing limited amounts of organic spinach, garlic, onions, tomatoes (Roma, Giant Beef Steak, Lemon Drop, Kellogg’s Breakfast), peppers (Serrano, Jalapeno, Beaver Dam, Sweet Pickle Peppers, Peperoncini, California Wonder, Orange Bell, Anaheim), herbs (cilantro, basil, dill), cucumber, carrots and soy beans (Shirofumi and Agate).

Learn more about Half Hill Farm on FaceBook at http://facebook.com/HalfHillFarmTN.

Using mycorrhizal fungi in organic farming

One of the most important organic cultural practices I use on the farm is inoculating crops with mycorrhizal fungi. The photo above shows an application on one of 100 organic hop rhizomes we just planted. The symbiotic relationship between this fungus and plant roots is essential for healthy soil and plants. It’s also the secret that all of the current world record pumpkin growers don’t want you to know.

There are a couple types of mycorrhizal fungi. Endomycorrhiza work with certain plants by attaching to the root intracellularly while ectomycorrhiza work extracelluarly. Here is a good resource to find out which mycorrhiza you need for various plants and trees.

How it works: The fungi is naturally occurring in healthy soil all over the world. The largest living organism on the planet is a 2,400 year old 2,200 acre mycelial mat discovered in August 2000 in Oregon’s Malheur National Forest. Mycorrhizae are the very life of our planet’s soil creating a network of microbial life that naturally mitigates disease, nutrition and water concerns in the cultivation of crops. Mycorrhizae reduce the use of tilling, irrigation and chemical inputs in aggriculture. It also helps sequester carbon and is a key environmental relationship in our survival on the planet. Many organic farmers who use mycorrhizal fungi never have to water their crops even during drought. You can see several of these side-by-side comparisons pictured here online that illustrate exactly why.

Conventional farming methods using chemical fertilizers, pesticides and tilling are slowly destroying this natural relationship in favor of predictable short-term outcomes from dependence on expensive inputs that often hide destructive and unsustainable results.

Perfect design: Mycorrhizae are basically a mushroom (mycelium) that feeds off the plant’s sugars through its root system. What the fungus does in return for plants is truely amazing: it takes nutrients and water from the soil and feeds the plant by becoming a huge network of extended roots. The fungi is also what breaks down rocks and minerals for plants. It also makes plants more drought resistant as their access to soil moisture is more than ten times that of non-inoculated plants. One application to roots during transplanting or seeding lasts the entire life of the plant, and the results are indisputable.

There is a lot of simple research showing plants do much better using mycorrhizae than using conventional fertilizers. Here is a 6th grader’s science fair project using Fungi Perfecti’s MycoGrow (what we use at Half hill Farm) to show you how simple this is to understand.

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