FireRoot Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic – the troll chaser


Half Hill Farm’s FireRoot Apple Cider VInegar Tonic – the troll chaser

Our small organic apple orchard here in Woodbury, TN will never produce enough apples for market, but with a little help it will be enough to make some amazing apple cider vinegar tonics!

A famous example that inspired our farm’s first seasonal apple cider vinegar tonic is Rosemary Gladstar’s recipe for Fire Cider. We call our tonic FireRoot, a spicy decoction of certified organic horseradish, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, orange, lemon, cayenne and black pepper in organic apple cider vinegar & mother lightly sweetened with local honey.

Half Hill Farm’s FireRoot apple cider vinegar tonic is just one way our farm honors traditional folk remedies. Each ounce of prevention will chase your trolls and light a fire under whatever’s thrown your way. FireRoot is available in both 8 oz and 16 oz bottles online or in our retail store in the Arts Center of Cannon County starting Thursday February 2.

Better health and well being
Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a natural folk remedy for indigestion and a host of ailments. Research shows daily use of 1-2 tbsps naturally lowers morning blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, dramatically lowers mealtime glycemic levels associated with chronic diseases, helps people lose weight and may satiate appetite. There is some evidence showing anti-cancer properties, but the mechanism is not well understood. Less is known about widely reported uses as a cold and flu prevention, but it is suspected that apple cider vinegar’s alkalizing affects in the body helps prevent cold & flu. Using apple cider vinegar to decoct ingredients like garlic, ginger, and turmeric certainly helps increase the tonic’s antimicrobial and antiviral potential.*

To make FireRoot, our farm starts with all organic ingredients and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar that contains the mother, the naturally occurring probiotic yeast and bacteria that ferments the cider into vinegar. This will appear as a light sediment, so shake well to get all the botanical goodness in every serving!

How to use FireRoot Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic
If you’re a fan of bold flavor, take a tablespoon of FireRoot every day before or after your biggest meal. By using FireRoot with food, you can also lower your intake of salt and fat. Here are a few suggested uses below. Check back for recipes using FireRoot!

  • Blend FireRoot with flax oil or coconut oil to make an amazing salad dressing!
  • Spice up your chutney recipe by replacing the vinegar with FireRoot.
  • Use FireRoot in place of butter or salt on steamed vegetables or beans or blend into marinades for meats.
  • Blend with Bragg’s, sesame oil, and lemon juice to make a tangy dumpling sauce.

FireRoot is our farm’s first seasonal tonic release this year. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to learn when other tonics will be available.

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

Nature’s Remedy: Chaga mushroom dual extract


Half Hill Farm’s Chaga Mushroom Dual Extract is available in 100 and 200 ml bottles.

Chaga mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus) have been used as folk medicine for immune support and gastrointestinal health in Russia for centuries, more recently in treating cancer and the side effects of cancer treatments. Chaga is not an edible mushroom and must be extracted to be consumed. Extracts are made from the sclerotium, a fungal mycelium outgrowth that occurs mostly on Birch trees prior to a rarely seen fruiting body. As the Birch tree mounts a decades long defense against the advancing fungus, the Chaga mycelium creates a host of compounds to fight for its survival, and this is why many call Chaga the “King of the Herbs.”

Uses: Studies show extracts of Chaga mycelium reduce oxidative stresses that lead to many diseases. It has one of the highest antioxident values of any herb and high concentrations of melanin (visible on the sclerotium’s crusted outer surface), ergosterol (vitamin D2) and anti-aging enzymes Superoxide Dismutase (SOD).

Studies of Chaga also show antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Chaga’s adaptagenic effects help balance overactive auto-immune responses while naturally triggering needed immune responses. Chaga is often used to treat eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis and to normalize cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Compounds from both hot water and alcohol extractions, including polysaccharides and terpenes (betulinic acids, phytosterols), have anti-tumor growth properties making Chaga a candidate as an adjunct therapy. Betulinic acid has been shown to help break down LDL cholesterol.

How to Purchase: Half Hill Farm is pleased to add the healing power of Chaga mushrooms to our Nature’s Remedy line of mushroom dual extracts that include Red Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum) and Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor) mushrooms. Our Chaga extract processes responsibly wildcrafted sclerotia (fungal mycelium) of the Chaga mushroom through a lengthy hot water (distilled water) and alcohol (USDA Certified Organic pharmaceutical grade USP) extraction process. Our full spectrum dual extract is manufactured in our FDA registered manufacturing kitchen for our USDA Certified Organic farm and bottled in premium Miron ultra-violet glass for superior preservation (shelf life of 1 year).

Take Chaga daily in morning coffee or evening tea or in combination with any of our mushroom dual extracts. There are no known contraindicators. Below are a few studies of Chaga mushrooms for deeper understanding of this powerful mushroom.

Research on Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) mushrooms

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

Local farm makes medicinal extracts from native mushrooms


Farmers turn to cancer-fighting – Cannon Courier – April 9, 2014

(WOODBURY, TN) Mushrooms are revered in ancient herbal medicine as a cure-all for everything from colds and flu to cancer. With recent research validating some of this ancient wisdom, a local organic farm is turning native Turkey Tail mushrooms into medicinal extracts.

Half Hill Farm is a small seven acre USDA Certified Organic farm in Woodbury, TN specializing in apples, blueberries, hops and mushrooms. But a recent cancer diagnosis for one of the owner’s 72 year old mother made mushrooms a priority.

“Cancer has a way of making you change your priorities and rethink your life routines,” said farm co-owner Vince Oropesa. Last year his mother was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Working with her doctors in Murfreesboro, he began providing her with extracts from a native Turkey Tail mushroom as an adjunct therapy to chemo treatments.

“She was at a stage in her health and age where the doctors left it to her whether to go through chemo,” Oropesa said. “We take it a day at a time, but she has surprised us and the doctors through every turn. She’s a real fighter.”

Months before the cancer diagnosis, Oropesa and his husband Christian Grantham began building farm infrastructure to cultivate edible mushrooms for local markets.

“When we got the news of Sandy’s diagnosis, our priorities shifted as well to research on medicinal mushrooms growing in our own back yard,” Grantham said.

What the farmers found opened their eyes to an opportunity to not only help Vince’s mother, but also many people dealing with cancer and other illnesses.

“It was a real wake up call to pay attention to what was literally growing right under our noses,” Grantham added. “Life has a way of doing that, and it’s up to us how we respond to that opportunity.”

Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor) grows wild throughout Tennessee and the world. The anti-cancer properties of extracted polysaccharides (PSK) and polypeptides (PSP) from Turkey Tail mushrooms are approved cancer drugs in Japan. Private research in America has been limited because pharmaceutical companies cannot patent the results. That has prompted the U.S. government to start funding research.

In late 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a $5.4 million grant to study 4-6 gram daily doses of Turkey Tail mushroom extract on stage IV colon and lung cancer. This comes on the heels of promising National Institute of Health (NIH) research on breast cancer. The funding also follows a University of Pennsylvania study showing Turkey Tail mushroom extracts dramatically increases life expectancy for pets with cancer.

“The NIH studies alone showing enhanced Natural Killer (NK) cells and reduced tumor growth in breast cancer patients was enough for us to immediately start Vince’s mother on Turkey Tails,” Grantham said.

Since creating their mushroom extracts, Oropesa and Grantham find interest mostly from people whose illness has them searching for natural alternatives and adjunct therapies. The two say the extracts they are creating on their farm are just as effective as preventative treatment.

“We take our extracts everyday,” Grantham said. “We do Turkey Tail in our morning coffee and Reishi in our evening tea. We’re not doctors, so we try not to talk about how we feel because we don’t want to sound crazy, but it is turning into a life-long routine for us.”

The dual extraction process subjects dried mushrooms to a lengthy hot water and alcohol extraction process that takes a month to complete. The result is a 1:1 concentrated dual extract you can mix into foods or drink.

Most of the farm’s customers for extracts are people whose priorities have changed due to illness. To bring their medicinal extracts to a larger market, the two farmers are taking a page from the medicinal marijuana industry and are infusing their product in food.


Red Reishi Mushroom 1:1 dual extract – available as gifts and soon as infused chocolates from our farm’s online store.

“Most people who aren’t sick don’t quiet understand what to do with our extracts, and that’s OK,” Oropesa said. “But everybody understands chocolate, and most eat them before we have a chance to tell them how good it is for them.”

Half Hill Farm offers Spring and Fall workshops on growing your own edible and medicinal mushrooms on oak logs as well as how to make your own extracts. Their mushroom extracts and infused chocolates will be available online soon.

PURCHASE NOW: Buy our Turkey Tail or Red Reishi extracts online.

Learn more:

DISCLAIMER: I am a farmer. I am not a doctor. 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. These food products were made in a private home not licensed or inspected.

RECIPE: Red Reishi and Turkey Tail mushroom extracts


2 1/2 quarts of Red Reishi extract made at Half Hill Farm. Purchase our 1:1 dual extracts.

Red Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) and Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor) mushrooms have been widely known for their medicinal value for centuries. Today, new studies reveal anti-cancer and anti-viral properties of high concentrations of polysaccharide K (PSK – an approved cancer drug) and lesser studied triterpenoids in both mushrooms. Last year, the FDA approved a $5 million study focusing on use of Turkey Tail PSK adjunctive treatment for stage four colon and lung cancers after promising results from an NIH study on breast cancer patients.

Many people mistake these two particular mushrooms as edible. Some websites actually prescribe so many grams of these dried mushrooms. The fact is, you cannot fully digest these medicinal mushrooms. The protein-bound polysaccharides can only be extracted through a several hour decoction process while triterpenoids typically are extracted over several days in an alcohol solution. You certainly won’t die eating these mushrooms, but the best way to realize the full health benefits is to create a single or dual extract.

SINGLE EXTRACT (DECOCTION): A typical decoction is a 1 oz of dry mushroom to 1 cup of water. A single decoction will extract water solubles such as polysaccaharide K (PSK) and beneficial polypeptides (PSP).

  • 1 oz dried Red Reishi or dried Turkey Tail mushrooms
  • 2 cups of distilled or purified water

Take 1 oz. of the mushroom of your choice and place them in 2 cups of water. If you are using Reishi you will need to chop it up as close to 1 inch squares as you can. You can break it up into small pieces. Boil for 3-4 hours, reduce to between a light boil and simmer after the first 30 minutes. At the end, remove the mushrooms. You will then want to filter out any pieces of mushrooms. Your two cups should have reduced to close to a cup, including whatever you can squeeze out of your mushrooms.

Jar and store in the fridge for about 1 week before discarding. Take 2-6 teaspoons twice daily. Reishi is very bitter and best in coffee or soup broths.

DUAL EXTRACT: To extract antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral triterpenoids and other medicinal compounds present in the fruit body of the mushrooms, you will need to take the mushrooms from the first process and place them in a high proof alcohol for a month and blend them using proofing formulas.

OTHER USES: Our first use for these extracts is 1 tablespoon in 16 oz. soup servings we are making for Vince’s mother who was recently diagnosed at age 72 with stage IV lung cancer.

You can put 2 teaspoons of either extract in coffee and tea, or slightly more in soup, stews, or water you use to cook things like rice or even larger recipes calling for fluids.

WHERE TO GET: Growing your own medicinal mushrooms and following the steps above is the most affordable way to get extracts. We offer 1 foot logs inoculated with either mushrooms through our online store or larger logs for pick up at our farm in Woodbury, TN. This is the most economical way to grow your own. It takes several months for the logs to fruit and will produce seasonally for 3-5 years.

PURCHASE NOW: Our farm makes quality dual extracts of both Turkey Tail and Red Reishi mushrooms using distilled water and USDA certified organic alcohol (USP). Buy our Turkey Tail or Red Reishi extracts online.

Ganoderma Lucidum dual extract

Research on Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor) mushrooms

Research on Red Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) mushrooms

DISCLAIMER: I am a farmer. I am not a doctor. 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.

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. This is also the preferred method of botanical extraction by ethnobotanists and scientists conducting tests and trials. Capsules that simply grind this mushroom into powder are not extracts and can contain ground up rice used to grow the mycelium. Because we could not find a quality product we trusted with our own mother, we 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 just like the standardized method outlined in studies. You can now buy our Turkey Tail, Red Reishi, Chaga, or Lion’s Mane mushroom extracts online and expect the exact same level of quality and care.

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.