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Nov 16, 2018







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Chaga Grove

You can order Chaga Grove products from its website or find them locally at Roots at Robie’s Cafe and Catering (9 Riverside St., Hooksett, 485-7761, rootsatrobies.com), Laney and Lu Cafe (26 Water St., Exeter, 580-4952, laneyandlu.com) and The Mustard Seed (80 Stage Road, Nottingham, 679-1800, mustardseedherbs.com). You can also find them at the Salem Farmers Market (salemnhfarmersmarket.org) every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and occasionally at the Concord Winter Farmers Market (concordwintermarket.com) held every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Visit chagagrove.com or find them on Facebook for updates.




Chaga delight
Making the most of NH’s mushrooms

12/22/16
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 Andrea Runkel of Hooksett said the moment she learned about chaga mushrooms, she was hooked. It was six years ago during a trip to the White Mountains for a wild edibles workshop that the instructor pointed them out, growing in black conks off birch trees. 

“The reason it was so attractive to me and that I continue to be so drawn to this mushroom is because I grew up in New Hampshire, and it’s available right in our own backyard.” she said. “I thought, ‘Everyone needs to know about this,’ and I knew I needed to spend time harvesting it and spreading the word about it.” 
One year later, Runkel launched her business Chaga Grove, through which she sells chaga mushroom chunks, extracts and other products at local farmers markets and some independent shops. 
Chaga mushrooms only grow in cold climates like northern New Hampshire. Two to three times a month, she and her boyfriend, William Golen, who joined her as a co-owner three years ago, head up to the White Mountains with chisels and hammers for an eight- to 10-hour hike to harvest chaga mushrooms. On a good trip they return with 10 to 20 pounds of them. 
You can’t cook the chaga mushroom like you would a typical edible mushroom, but you can use it to make a tea or extract for a number of foods or drinks. 
“There are so many ways to use it in cooking,” Runkel said. “It doesn’t have the earthy mushroom taste most people expect. It’s very mild so that it won’t overpower the taste of a dish, but it adds undertones of vanilla and caramel, which are really tasty when you add a little maple syrup or sprinkle in a little nutmeg.” 
One of Chaga Grove’s most popular products is the Chaga Chunk, which can be used to make hot or cold tea; that, then, can be used anywhere that you would typically use water: to brew coffee, boil pasta, add to oatmeal, or use as a base for soup, smoothies or mashed potatoes, just to name a few. Other products include chaga extracts in a variety of flavors including plain (chaga with honey, vanilla and vodka), chai (same as plain with chai spices added), elderberry (chaga with elderberry and vegetable glycerin) and many more. There are even chaga hot chocolate kits, which come with one ounce of chaga, two teaspoons of cacao powder and honey sticks. Each product comes with instructions on how to use it. You can also get a monthly subscription of small, medium or large boxes of chaga chunks or extracts. 
Runkel says chaga mushrooms are known for various holistic medicinal benefits like strengthening the immune system and helping to fight colds and the flu. 
“Once people start using chaga, they get hooked like I did,” Runkel said. “It’s just so easy to incorporate into everyday life.” 





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