Day 5 – Foraging in Montana & Crazy Mary’s

Foraging in Montana was awesome, fun, and guided thanks to Montana Santa. If you are visiting Montana, there are a lot of foraging opportunities and a lot of fun to be had.
Self-healing mushroom grain jar caps

We went HUNTING in Billings MT- yes we did but hold up… not for Elk… not for Antelope… Nope! We hunted for berries, leaves, flowers, and more berries, Yep, that’s right, we have a Buffalo berry tree mounted on our wall, thorns and all. Foraging in Montana was one of the highlights of our trip!

We had an amazing time in Billings Montana. We drove in on day 5 and with a small surprise in store. One of the first things I always do when booking on Airbnb is read the host profile.  We were in luck. Our host was not just the self-proclaimed, “Montana Santa” but also a forager. I was able to book an afternoon at Dover Park on the Yellowstone River with Todd, our host/forager, showing us how to forage for edible berries. We picked chokeberries, buffalo berries, and black currants. We made jam, salsa, and syrup with all of our finds!

After our 3 mile venture, we stopped in at Crazy Mary’s. This is a cool local place and Mary is really CRAZY! If you are sensitive or emotionally unstable, this might be the best place for you. Crazy Mary cooks and runs this place. She is hilarious and has opinions that she shares, not just with you, but everyone sitting in the restaurant. She makes some killer fish tacos topped with her homemade mango salsa.

Pro Tip at Crazy Mary’s. Don’t order the, “Farm Raised Chicken” unless it’s Friday. The spirit of the chicken dish is for children, not adults. You may get called out in a very Crazy Mary and very public manner if you order the chicken!

My husband had her famous fish sandwich and ate every bit of it, he was silent for a solid 15 minutes which translates as, “Delicious!” I would totally recommend this place to anyone traveling to or through the area. It’s a must. Prepping and cooking our foraging find was a lot of fun. As we boiled down Choke Berries into a delicious syrup we exchanged interesting Airbnb stories with Todd. Airbnb, if you have not tried it, is a great adventure and adds an unpredictable element to travel. Not in a bad way usually. There can be, however, like anything in life, horrifically awkward Airbnb encounters. After our kitchen duties, we polished off the night with an hour in the hot tub stargazing and enjoying the amazing view from the deck seeing two shooting stars was a total bonus and waking up to an amazing breakfast of homemade waffles topped with butter and homemade Chokeberry Syrup, compliments of Santa himself!

Mushroom Growing Naming Convention

As I continue to ramp up my mushroom growing endeavors, I am finding that I need to take better notes on my batches from the creation of the substrate to the inoculation and grow room.  To help with this, I am coming up with a naming convention for my grow outs and thought I would share it with everyone.

7 Amazing Wild Mushrooms in PA

Pennsylvania is home to a wide variety of wild mushrooms harvestable throughout the year. Here are my 8 favorite mushrooms to forage for.

Laetiporus Sulphureus – Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods is an awesome mushroom that has the texture of chicken and can really take on the flavor of the dish you are preparing.

Easy to Make Mushroom Grain Jar Caps

It’s super easy to make your own Mushroom Grain Jar caps with self-healing injection ports. Here is how!

How to Make: Lapin à la Moutarde

Lapin à la Moutarde is French. I made this and it’s rich and intoxicating and layered in flavor. I enjoyed my time reading about the dish and then actually preparing it. You can use the whole rabbit for this dish, I look forward to preparing it again.

~ Laurie Luther



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