December 2016

There’s More than Meets the Fung – eye

Its December, the last remnants of Chanterelles are leaving your taste buds. The first freeze is here. Just a few weeks ago mushrooms were everywhere! They were in your cedar chips, in your lawn and between. You’re curious about them, that’s why you’re reading this. You know some of them are super poisonous, some are super delicious, some are super medicinal and some are super fun. You are afraid to pick and eat them because of that lethal thing I mentioned – don’t worry so am I.

Foraging for mushrooms often takes a little more experience than foraging for edible plants as there can be a lot of false identification. For that reason I am not here today to talk to you about identification.

You’re asking, well then why the hell are you here? I’m here to talk to you about why Fungi are more important then just their delectable edible bodies.

Fungi are in the streets, on the internet, and in the market. Those fungal networks: think of em like the dark web of our soil. A Matrix of interconnected webs spanning miles beyond miles. Alright Neo are you ready to take the red pill?

Connected to that little mushroom you saw yesterday is a network of mycelium that can span so far that one of the biggest organisms on the earth is a fungi. These networks have symbiotic relationships with the plants growing above ground, this relationship is called mycorrhizae. They exchange nutrients and knowledge. Wait knowledge? What do you mean knowledge?

Scientists have proven that mother trees use these networks to send nutrients to saplings and communicate- sometimes to different species even. I know, you’re like whoa! Hold on to your horses cause it gets better.

Fungi are not only the highways for the the transportation of nutrients, they are also like the markets making those nutrients more readily available for plants. So instead of having to travel deep into the soil with its roots or break down some complex compounds, fungal networks do that for them. Look at that fungi making nutrients more available for plants. So now you’re asking, what do they get in trade? They get carbohydrates! We all want sugar right?

Now that you know mushrooms are so important for your garden, what can you do to encourage fungi in your soil? Lets start with what not to do. DON’T use pesticides. Don’t use too much nitrogen or phosphorous rich fertilizers/composts. Don’t till your soil. Don’t mono crop. Rotate them crops yo.

If the land you use is new to you I suggest assuming its been compromised. Most garden shops will have something to help perpetuate that amazing mycelium. A startling 80% of land plants have a symbiotic relationship with fungi and I’m willing to bet most of the plants in your garden do too.

So now you’re like, well I don’t grow a garden I don’t care. Well there’s even more to meet the eye with fungi then just soil health. Mushrooms are being studied in the treatment of breast cancer (turkey tail mushrooms), the filtering of pollutants and the creation of new biodegradable packing materials. Soon we’ll be able to say good by to styrofoam.

Fungi are responsible for my three favorite things: beer, bread, and cheese…mmm fermentation. So next time you see that little fruiting body called a mushroom popping up remember that’s the tip of the of the iceberg.

Want to learn more about mushrooms? I’d suggest checking out Paul Stamets and Susie Simmond TED talks to start.


Nichole Criss
Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe
Social Media Manager
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Things that Make Us Feel Warm and Fuzzy: Socks and Coffee

Spread the joy of hot coffee next time you’re in the cafe!

Join the nationwide movement started in 2013 that has changed the way we care about each other. Introducing: Suspended Coffee.

John M. Sweeney (founder & chief kindness officer, yes that’s his official title) re-introduced Suspended Coffee into cafes around the world in 2013. Based off old Naples tradition, the term “caffè sospeso” means “suspended” or pending coffee. With roots in working-class Naples, a person experiencing a stroke of good luck would purchase two coffees. The patron would then take one coffee with them and leave the extra for someone in need. This anonymous act of charity has grown into a international program.

At Chaco we love being a part of a something that brings us together. Suspended Coffee is an opportunity for us to promote kindness and strengthen our communities.
“It can provide physical comfort, conversation, a smile or even a laugh, and a sense of belonging. A suspended coffee can change lives, sometimes even save them.” Read more at or check out this video!


Chaco wants you to know that we can “suspend” any menu item! Just tell us at the counter when you order your meal.

Add a Hippie Bowl, or Avocad-O Smoothie to our donation cup and know that you took part in feeding someone.
So come on by and make a stranger’s day, donate something sweet and simple. We’ll make the coffee!

Box of Sox Now at Chaco Greenwood

Chaco Greenwood is proud to be a WeCount donation drop off zone. WeCount is a local organization connecting those in need with items that are essential, by asking neighbors to donate what they can. This is a great way to unite as a community and assist one another with acquiring some of the basics. WeCount takes donations of outdoor gear, personal hygiene products, home goods, and much more!

They even have an App!

You can use the app simply by having a text-enabled phone or email address. After creating an account, users can choose to seek help or donate.
Our Greenwood location has now adopted a box as a part of the Box of Sox Program. This drive is specifically geared to helping our community members that need help this upcoming winter season! We are accepting new or lightly used socks for donation. Sometimes the little things make a big difference. Help us keep our community warm and cozy this winter. Drop by and donate!
To find out more information about donating & how you can get involved in the cause visit
Help us fill our box FULL of sock!

Tis the Season
Courtney Denney
General Manager
Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe & Bakery, Greenwood

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Dietary Pleasure vs. Dietary Effect

I will always remember when the dietary script flipped in my life. About 5 years ago, I was walking away from Chaco University with what’s known as the “Boss Juice”: a pickle jar filled with ice, a shot of wheatgrass, and a large Green Cleanse juice (celery, cucumber, spinach, lemon and parsley).

I caught myself thinking “delicious!” after a swig of my green, bitter, sweetness-free slurry.

When I was in my teens, you could buy candy bars for 25 cents each. Not wanting to carry change around in my pocket, my daily after-school snack regimen was simple:

one crisp $1 bill = 4 candy bars.

Every day for years, I ate four candy bars as a pre-teen and teen. Now, I was blessed with a high metabolism and was an active kid. I was more ‘beanpole’ than overweight, in any fashion. Since there were no obvious repercussions to this dietary choice, the equation was easy for me at the time: sweet candy = pleasure.

Fast forward to my 30’s. No longer an active daily athlete and metabolism hitting the typical wall for people my age. There was a definitive cause and effect relationship with food that been obvious for years. I was no longer eating multiple candy bars per day, but I was in the midst of the dance between diet and health. If I make a certain choice for what I consume at lunch, it will affect how much energy I have for the next few hours of work. If I skip breakfast, I will lose all motivation by 11am. Have sugar for a snack, and I knew I would pay dearly within 15 minutes.

This has become an acute daily exercise for me in my 40’s, where there are clear costs and benefits to everything I consume. I’m thankfully allergy-free and I don’t think I have any particular sensitivities. However, for 10 years I have been checking in with myself after I eat something, and that has produced real insight into how my body processes food.

It also gives me insight into how important ingredients are.

I can eat two identical-looking dishes and have two completely different bodily reactions to them. Ingredients are important – the devil’s in the details!
There are items at my own café that I have to really avoid (see: Lentil Burger), but something at Chaco that’s illustrative of foods that look alike but create different results is our yogurt bowl.


I’ve never been a yogurt and fruit person because my body doesn’t like dairy or sugar. However, it does like the live cultures present in yogurts. The Chaco version is a cultured, live coconut-based yogurt, and my body actually sings when I have one for breakfast.

I’ll bet my 12-year old self never could have predicted that.
Chris Maykut
Proud Owner
Chaco Canyon Organic Cafes

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