HOW TO HARVEST CHAGA SUSTAINABLE
The uniqueness of the Chaga fungus is undeniable. This medicinal mushroom grows and lives on a birch tree trunk for many years. During its life span, Chaga not only keeps but also accumulates and concentrates the strength and life-giving energy which passes through the birch trunk. Thus, Chaga products made from wild-harvested mushrooms could provide amazing health benefits.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. “
Ralph Waldo Emerson
While collecting this Gift from Nature you should remember that harvesting should be done carefully, with special equipment and knowledge – all this will help to protect life birch tree and offer sustainable harvesting!
In this article, we will share our knowledge and provide you with information about how to harvest Chaga, what tools to use, and what time of the year best suits for harvesting.
WHEN TO HARVEST CHAGA
When and how to collect is just as important as the environment in which this unique mushroom grows.
To harvest Chaga from birch trees, we employ specially trained people with experience and who are able to distinguish and find the highest quality Chaga mushroom.
Chaga grows only on old, living birch trees. The best birch trees are at least 10–15 years old, with the Chaga growing at least 2–3 meters from the ground. This combination seems to foster a stronger concentration of wellness properties in the Chaga. Remember that only the living trees are suitable for the collection of Chaga. And only birch tree Chaga offers health supportive benefits!
Some believe that Chaga can be harvested all year round, regardless of season. At first glance, this is true, because Chaga is a fungus that lives long, grows slowly, and is well-protected from all sorts of weather. But experience suggests that it is best to collect Chaga in the spring and autumn since it accumulates the greatest amount of useful ingredients during the spring sap flow and autumn preparation for the harsh winter days.
Chaga freezes during winter and it’s difficult to pull it from the birch tree. In the summer, when the forest is covered with abundant greenery, it’s almost impossible to find Chaga and harvesting cost increases, which is often passed through to the customer.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT HARVESTING CHAGA
Only Chaga from birch trees has beneficial properties. Also, it’s been discovered that Chaga mushroom offers more nutrients and potency if it grows on a birch tree in the birch forest, rather than alone birch in the middle of other tree species. Located on a separate tree, Chaga contains much less biologically active substances.
“Mushrooms are miniature pharmaceutical factories, and of the thousands of mushroom species in nature, our ancestors and modern scientists have identified several dozen that have a unique combination of talents that improve our health. “
It’s impossible to collect Chaga from a dry tree since as soon as the tree dies, the Chaga begins to wither. Also, it’s not advisable to collect Chaga from the ground, as these are generally old, crumbling growths. It’s easy to distinguish such unsuitable growths: they are loose, easily crumbled, and black over their entire thickness.
Previously, harvesting Chaga was done properly – only from the birch trees which were intended for cutting. But since Chaga popularity grown lately, many inexperienced harvesters or poachers cut it from birch tree randomly, whenever they could find it, without thinking about the consequences. And this is the reason why Chaga mushroom slowly disappears. In the 1970s, 50–100 kg of Chaga could be harvested from a hectare of birch forest, now 50 kg could be hardly harvested from 100 hectares. Remember, it takes at least 5 years for Chaga to grow back.
Other subtleties must also be taken into account during the collection of Chaga. We have described only a tiny fraction of the nuances associated with Chaga and its preparation.
BEST PRACTICES FOR CHAGA MUSHROOM HARVESTING
Chaga is a finite resource. And we must treat such reserves with the utmost respect. Only the best suppliers of the world’s finest Chaga will sustain the product in their best environment, with a view to continued growth. Sustainability is not a new word but is becoming one of the most important factors when protecting our earth’s dwindling resources.
In the process of harvesting birch tree Chaga, you need to know a few important things. When you found fungus on the tree, within reachable height, you would think that all is left is to take it off from the trunk, but it is not that simple. Of course, you could just cut it down using an ax or a knife, without thinking about the outcome, but the goal is to collect Chaga as efficiently and safely as possible in order to provide sustainable harvesting, which won’t harm the tree.
Sayan harvesters use special equipment that guarantees maximum safety for the life birch tree, and further growth of Chaga in the place it was removed.
Harvesting Chaga takes skill. When harvesters remove Chaga mushroom from the birch trees, a thin layer of mycelium is left. You can see how the birch tree after Chaga harvesting looks like on thе picture above.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Each harvester ensures that the Chaga harvesting is properly done so the birch tree is not damaged. Small pieces of Chaga are left on the birch tree to promote future Chaga growth. The best technique allows faster recovery for the tree and it also increases the nutrients which birch tree gets after the large Chaga is removed. By removing mature Chaga, the life of the birch tree might be extended while more Chaga grows.
Sayan pays great attention to sustainable harvesting. We want to be sure that no birch trees are harmed during the process and new Chaga could be grown in the place of the old one.
By contrast, other Chaga providers, in an effort to reduce the cost, often buy Chaga from multiple suppliers without proper control over how the harvesting is done. It potentially could lead to birch trees’ death and stoppage of future Chaga growth. It’s common in these situations for Chaga to be left unattended and unprocessed for a long period of time. This can lead to microbial growth and other potential issues like lack of nutritional value.
In order to get the best quality Chaga, it needs to be clean and dried quickly after harvesting. We always take an important step after that and test all Chaga in the lab to ensure it is sanitary, cleanliness, and free of radionuclides.
Identifying Chaga: What does Chaga look like?
The first step in the collection of the Chaga mushroom is the correct identification of this King of Herbs. Chaga can be mistaken for Chaga look-alike burl or a protruding knot on the tree. The novice will soon find out that trying to harvest a burl will be considerably harder than harvesting Chaga.
“Chaga is significant in ethnomycology, forest ecology, and increasingly in pharmacognosy. Its long-term human use and cultural eastern European and Russian acceptance should awaken serious researchers to its potential as a reservoir of new medicines, and as a powerful preventive ally for protecting DNA. “
If you want to be a Chaga hunter, you can do own research just to be sure what does Chaga looks like. Imposing in its outer appearance, Chaga is strangely recognizable. You could find many pictures of Chaga’s rough outside texture in books and articles on the internet. With this, you will grow more familiar. Not only will sourcing Chaga become easier over time, you will be able to teach others how to recognize what is becoming one of the most coveted natural sources of antioxidants.
If you are not an expert yet, you can still carve your own path. Wherever possible, take someone with you who has the knowledge and experience harvesting Chaga. An experienced Chaga harvester can provide the novice with a wealth of information on the inhabited environment. He can also impart additional knowledge on this popular medicinal mushroom and provide you with tips on Identifying Chaga, which will make harvesting more efficient.
Where to Find Chaga
Wild Chaga is found in the coldest climates of the Northern hemisphere, in countries like Canada, USA, Russia, and Finland. Try to stay away from the cities as far as possible, rural area the best place to start the Chaga hunting.
You can find Chaga mushroom domestically in Maine, Alaska, Vermont, and some other states. Since Chaga grown popularity in the USA for the last several years, few companies were founded and now they offer Chaga mushroom which is harvested domestically. You can find plenty of Alaska Chaga or Maine Chaga online but Siberian Chaga is still somewhat of a rarity.
While this medicinal mushroom grows in a few locations around the world, we believe the purest and most potent Chaga grows in Siberia, the only place we wild-harvest our Chaga. The climate in Siberia is the main reason behind the best quality Chaga mushroom worldwide. Summer is very sunny, and it rarely rains. The maximum temperature during summer varies from 59°F to 95° F (from + 15°C to +35° C). Fresh snow arrives in October, between 8 – 10 inches ( 20 – 25 centimeters) The winters are really harsh, temperature drops below -58° F (-50° C), with a record of -96° F (-71° C) in 2013. Polar nights can be observed during the winter season in the north of Eastern Siberia. It is not unusual that the sun won’t be seen for months in this region during winter. Such climate conditions make birch trees and Chaga fight for their survival almost all year long. And this is the reason why Siberian Chaga offers the best quality and health benefits.
The air quality of the region is also an important element for Chaga growth. Since Chaga absorbs toxic substances from the air, such as heavy metals and radionuclides, the ideal harvesting spot is far from big cities, industrial areas, and highways. Sayan only harvests wild Chaga in forests that are more than 200 kilometers from the nearest town. This ensures the ecological cleanliness of the Chaga and the preservation of its wellness properties.
Keep your eyes peeled in the forest that features yellow and white birch trees. Also, don’t just examine the base of the birch tree. Unlike some types of mushrooms, Chaga can be found in the upper areas of trees. It looks more like a black, charred section of the trunk, the opposite of what many people think of when they envision mushrooms.
Knowing where to find Chaga in the woods and how to harvest Chaga are important factors because this knowledge allows you to keep birch tree alive and also support future Chaga growth.
So if you have ever entertained the thought of harvesting Chaga and creating your own Chaga teas or tinctures be armed with this information about King of Herbs. Who knows, maybe you could be the next best Chaga hunter, just do it right and this diamond of the forest will help you along the way.
Tools for Harvesting Chaga
Chaga must be harvested properly to retain the active, beneficial ingredients. Properly harvesting Chaga begins by finding the right tools.
Because of the way Chaga attaches to the tree trunk, you’ll almost always need a hatchet to remove even small pieces of the mushroom. In some cases, a hammer will suffice. Some hunters say it is easier to locate the mushroom during the winter months because it often grows so high up on a tree that it might be hidden by greenery during warmer weather. However, as we stated above, winter is not the best season when you should be harvesting and in addition, frozen Chaga may be very hard to remove from birch trunk.
Since some Chaga could be found really high above the ground you would need a special tool to collect it. We would suggest a chisel welded to long expandable telescopic rod, preferably made from steel.
You will definitely need protective glasses, they will help to keep dust and debris away from your eyes. Don’t forget a few yards of rope and swiss knife, you will never know when you need them.
After you separated Chaga from the tree make sure that you have a bag where you can store it. Ideally, it would be a backpack which allows you to store Chaga and won’t limit your movements.
Even if you have good eyes and a sharp ax, it’s still necessary to be very patient and careful. Trying to be too hasty could harm the tree and make your quest ultimately useless by ruining the mushroom and damaging the tree unnecessarily.
Be Healthy and Spread the word about Siberian Chaga!
Sayan responsibly sources Wild Chaga from Siberia. The cold climate and pristine natural conditions make Siberian Chaga mushroom pure, potent and powerful. Our process of harvesting and processing Chaga mushroom leads to the best quality products on the market.
Join our worldwide customer base and tell others about this unique fungus! We offer various all-natural products made from Wild-harvested Siberian Chaga mushroom in our store. Products like raw powder or chunks could be conveniently brewed at your home, caffeine-free Chaga tea bags offer unique and exclusive blend of raw powder and extract, and if you wish to get instant Chaga product – simply choose extract powder which could be dissolved instantly in hot water, juice, milk, smoothie or even added to your soup.
Visit our online store to find your favorite product or check out some of the different ways of using Chaga on our site. Best of luck with your quest for health and wellness!
If you have any questions please call us or send an email, and we’d be glad to help
If you got Chaga bug and want to harvest it on your own instead of placing the order online, you should know where to find precious mushrooms.
While some people would never know how and where to collect Chaga, having a little knowledge is the best place to begin. There are a few things to remember when searching for Chaga.