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A different variation on Tree Farming - Chaga Farming

Started by peakbagger, May 12, 2023, 08:20:29 AM

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Maine couple first in U.S. to try method of Chaga farming (

When out roaming I run into big white and yellow birches with large chaga conks on them. Inevitably if I am in group someone will say, that is valuable and maybe even grab a piece but I suspect it ends up in the trash when I get home. Lots of claims on its health effects but not a lot of real world medical testing and the current marketing tends to be all hyperbole and no facts. There doesnt seem to be any sort of organized wholesale market that I am aware of, its mostly someone grabs it while foraging for mushrooms and has it for sale at some arbitrary price at a farmer's market. If there was wholesale market for it I could at least pay for my gas to get to the woods I am roaming.

The claim is that it does not harm the wood but in the natural occurring clumps I see, it almost always is growing in a defect on the tree. So does the chaga cause the damaged or is it just taking advantage of it? 

They are using the same technique used to inoculate mushroom logs and in the case of mushrooms, they are definitely degrading the wood. 

So anyone else know more about Chaga and is it worth filling up my backpack with it when I see it?


My understanding is that the chaga must still be alive, which means on living trees, but it appears on declining trees. It should be a golden color on the inside, not black. The only time I see it around our place it is either way high up, or dead.
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All mushrooms are 'decomposers', that is their job in the natural world. Most of the mushrooms that will grow on wood will consume the sapwood parts of the tree (where the simple sugars are), but chaga works on the heartwood. To do so it enters the tree at a wound site where the bark is damaged and it takes quite a while to get established (3 years +) and can live for 80 years. There is a very specific way to harvest these to allow the host to continue, as I recall. I found a fairly good article for you HERE.

 As far as marketing goes. I would search for health food stores that have the knowledge and skill to turn these into a saleable product. In NYS you need a harvesting certification if you are going to forage and sell product to the market which requires extensive identification training and testing.
 That's about all I can tell you. Best of luck and let us know how you make out.
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