Cooking With Wildcrafted Candy Cap Mushrooms

Every wildcrafted meal or herbal medicine begins with a journey into the wild. Farm to Family Ranch is located in the forested mountains of Northern California and we are blessed to have a variety of mushrooms growing here. We are certified by CCOF to wildcraft Oyster Mushrooms, White Chanterelles, Black Trumpets aka Black Chanterelles, Matsutakis, Chicken Of the Woods, and Candy Caps.

Candy Caps tend to grow in mossy areas around ferns.

Many mushrooms and plants are toxic and being knowledgeable is crucial. We use seven identifying factors to identify Candy Caps. These mushrooms are used in ice cream and savory dishes. Candy Caps are said to be aphrodisiacs, as you will emit the odor of maple syrup after eating them and can even taste them on the skin. Some people say they can smell maple syrup in their urine. I, personally, don’t smell it emitted from my skin, or my urine, but when I walk outside and breathe in fresh air.

Candy Caps are a great addition to the Farmacy and a meal.

Candy Caps make a great addition to the Farmacy. They are a great source of protein, fiber, and B vitamins like Thiamine, Riboflavin, and Folate. What a beautiful gift from Mother Earth.

I will be adding these Candy Caps to my pine nut rice dish for the benefit of its flavor and nutritional abundance.

Ingredients: Candy Cap, Pine Nut Rice

1 C rice, 1/2 C chopped onions, 1 C rice, 1/2 C chopped onions, 1/2 T chopped garlic, 3 T pine nuts, Candy Cap mushrooms chopped in 1/2, 2C broth of your choice or water.

Add onions, pine nuts, and seasoning to heated pan.

Heat pan with 1 T olive oil, add onions and pine nuts and season. Sauté until pine nuts are golden and onions are cleared and browning on edges.

Add garlic and candy caps.

Add garlic and candy caps and drizzle with olive oil.

Sauté until fragrant.

Add rice and broth or water.

Once fragrant, add rice, give the pan a shake and add broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover fifteen minutes.


Biodiversity of Mother Earth Provides! We are blessed. Pura Vida!

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Greenhouse Devastated By Blizzard, We Have No Choice But to Reach Out For Help

Devastated by Blizzard, Farm to Family Appeals for Help

Last week, our greenhouse was destroyed by an unprecedented blizzard. We have no other option than to appeal for financial assistance to reclaim our loss. All contributions add up and are generous, no matter the size. Please share our story and gofundme link in your social media network. We will keep you updated with our progress.

Click my go fund me link: to make contributions.

Our story 

Greetings!  We are Cathy and Bill Brown, hybrid homesteaders and owners of Farm to Family, a tiny organic produce farm and firewood supplier in the northern California coastal mountains of Mendocino County.  I use the term hybrid, because we are not quite self sustainable.   I grow and and sell wholesome organic produce to local markets and to our local Food Hub, and Bill sells firewood generated through wildfire mitigation.  All of our business is currently done locally, with hopes to expand with an educational component and my herbal line of self-care products.

The year 2019 was a tough one for us financially, so I got a 9-5 as a chemist to pay the bills.  I was still able to sell produce on the side, but the farm suffered from my divided attention.  Six months later, Covid19 appeared. I sensed this pandemic would be huge; and I moved my elderly mother in with us.  Despite the challenges, we were managing., and Mom was safe in our secluded location.  Then, I got furloughed… “It’s ok”, I thought, “now I have all this time I can put into Farm to Family”.  We decided to upgrade the greenhouse with all up-cycled materials we could find on our property; we called this “shopping at our in-house Ranch Store”.

I got my seedlings germinating while Bill scrounged materials to build functional, waist high growing trays for me to keep hundreds of four inch transplants inside the greenhouse until able to transplant outside.  He installed a reclaimed bathroom vanity for storage of small tools, and created a small working counter, and converted the in-ground greenhouse rows I grow peppers and melons into beds with borders.  On the outside of the greenhouse, Bill reinforced the fiberglass siding on the sidewalls and built counters with sinks for bunching and organizing harvests.  At this point, I had been upgraded from bending over and creating makeshift tables for seedlings and working stations for harvesting.  I had a wonderful new, functional workspace.  It was glorious!!

I grew a variety of vegetables outside that I hardened off in the new greenhouse set-up, and I was able to produce peppers and melons inside the greenhouse until November!  The pandemic caused restaurants to close, but our local Food Hub adapted to the challenges of the pandemic and provided a new purposeful outlet for my produce.  The Food Hub was using our organic produce to fill 200 bi-weekly FEMA relief boxes for hungry people in Mendocino County.  In the mean-time, my furlough stretched from weeks into months.  I had made it through a great growing year thanks to my upgraded greenhouse.

Then, I got terminated from by job.  “It’s ok”, I thought, “its too hard to care for mom, who needs someone around, and go off to a 9-5 job.  I can piece together a few more things to generate income.  I’ll make it work!  I have to.” 

What Happened

Now it’s January 2021, and it was time to get seedlings germinating.  Preparations began in the greenhouse and I started sifting soil for seedlings.  Then, disaster.  An active atmospheric river slammed California with a massive winter storm bringing snow and winds like Willits has never seen in the 22 years we have been here.  The winds and snow completely destroyed our greenhouse.  The foundation of our little business lay completely twisted and broken, with no way to salvage the remains.  The side walls still stood, but the hoop framework, the plastic cover, and some of the solar powered fans were destroyed.  We are devastated.  We have no way to pay for their replacement.

But, wait, there’s more…the greenhouse was not the only victim of the storm.  The fencing that keeps hungry deer from eating our orchard and vegetable crops grown outside the greenhouse was damaged by trees falling and snapping the posts.

Our greenhouse was the lifeline we needed to extend our growing season. Outside, the season begins May through June and ends in September.  The greenhouse extended our season to begin in late winter, January to February; and to end in early winter, November to December.  Without these growing extensions on either end of our short season, produce does not have time to mature into a salable product.

The loss of our greenhouse and fencing is a devastating blow our homestead simply can not  recover from.  My growing season will be cut too short to grow produce that generates income.  This could be the final blow for Farm to Family.

When I first laid eyes on the twisted wreckage, “It’s not ok!”, I cried… “what now?”, I agonized… losing all hope, and full of despair, I made a Facebook post to share my loss.  There was an outpouring of volunteers to form a work party that will help erect a new structure, and it was suggested to me that I write a gofundme page.  “It might be ok”, I thought, “It will be ok, it has to be”.

We have determined the cost of replacing the top half of the Greenhouse is $4,000.00: fans at $90.00 each, fence posts at $200.00, and concrete $120.00.  We can re-use the fencing, and intend to up-cycle what parts from the demolished greenhouse we can into purlins to reinforce the framing.  We have volunteers ready to come help reclaim what we lost in the storm.  We are grateful for the offer of labor from friends and neighbors appreciate all the phone calls of support.  Together, we can do this!!  

We Need Help

For us to continue providing fresh, organic vegetables locally to our community and to help fill those FEMA boxes, we need help.  With your donations, we will be able to make necessary repairs, preserve this small family farm, and continue to give back to the community.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts now for your compassion, support, and contribution!

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Amazing heart healthy superfood everyone should include in their farmacy

Purslane is a tasty succulent packed with nutrients, giving it a multitude of health benefits.   Purslane is rich in the essential Omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid;  minerals: zinc, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, magnesium, & calcium; and Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, & E.   Purslane also contains betalain alkaloid pigments in the reddish stem, betacyanins in the yellow pigment of the flowers, and betaxanthin in the leaves. All these pigments provide powerful antioxidant and antimutagenic effects,. Purslane is rich in fiber and is one of the vegetables with the lowest calories at 16kcal/100g.

Purslane is such an amazing superfood because it not only contains so many beneficial nutrients for us, it contains them in high levels relative to other plants.  Vegans and vegetarians looking for Omega-3 fatty acids have the richest plant-based source of omega-3’s in Purslane!!! Vitamin E and Beta Carotene are at six times the level they are found in spinach or carrots.  Purslane also contains potassium in higher levels than other plants, which is not only important for metabolism, but stabilizing blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy circulatory system.  Purslane is also high in pectin which is known to lower cholesterol.

Purslane is tasty, somewhat crunchy, a little citrusy, and slightly peppery.  Some people compare it to watercress or spinach.  Many cultures around the world incorporate purslane into their cooking.  Purslane is used raw in salads, baked like spinach in pastries, fried stems with feta, stewed in soups, pickled, and super juicing.  The pectin in purslane provides it with a natural thickening ability for smoothies, soups, and stews.

I eat it raw in salads.  Please comment how you like to consume the amazing Purslane!!