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.

Grow your own mushrooms with our inoculated logs

What better way to celebrate the first full day of Spring than inoculating some locally harvested oak with medicinal and edible mushrooms! These one foot Red Reishi, Shiitake and Turkey Tail mushroom logs from Half Hill Farm are available for local pick up ($22) or ordering online if you live outside the area. We accept most major credit cards. Call 615-469-7778 for pick up.

Each log comes with instructions on how to care for your log to ensure it produces for many years to come. You can expect between 50% – 90% of the log’s weight in mushrooms over the years depending on the variety and proper care.

We also offer spawn pegs in 100 count units to inoculate your own logs. These are $12 per unit (100 will inoculate roughly three 4 feet logs) and are created from our cultivated spawn in the farm’s Shroomery lab. 500 or more are $10 per unit. These also come with basic instructions. Check out our other products for the more advanced mushroom grower.

Workshops: We do Spring and Fall workshops for small groups up to four people by appointment. You’ll learn all the basics in a quiet rural farm setting 12 miles East of Murfreesboro, TN and take home the log you inoculate.

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.

Medicinal Reishi mushroom extract infused chocolates

Test batch #2 of our medicinal Reishi mushroom extract infused semi-sweet chocolates came out excellent! The bitterness of the reduced dual extract (upper right) was completely complimentary to the chocolate, and we put a full daily dose of our Reishi mushroom extract in each serving size.

The next step is to make these with locally made chocolate and experiment with a couple other ingredients before packaging and making them available. We’re excited about sharing the many noted health benefits of Reishi mushrooms in a manageable serving of chocolate.

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.