Saturday, February 26, 2011

Treasure Hunting: Moss

A very easy forest item that can be found nearly every where is none other than moss. Did you know it can be sold? It sure can, you can sell it wet or dry. Moss is used to enhance the water retention abilities of soil as well as many other uses in the garden. In World War I, Sphagnum mosses were used as first-aid dressings on soldiers' wounds, as these mosses are highly absorbent and have mild antibacterial properties. (wikipedia) If you sell wet then the buyers tend to rip you off pretty hard core because they will demand that the 50 gallon bags that they supply you with are so full that they can't even be tied shut, and they'll only give five dollars per bag. The real money in moss lies in drying it before selling. I remember in my youth our yard was practically spider webbed with bailing twine lines where my step father used to hang his moss to dry. By the end of the summer the grass was replaced with bits of dried moss that trickled down over time. Once the moss was dry we would take bailing twine and drape it inside a box. Stuff in the dried moss, and then tie the twine and pull out a perfect bail of moss. We would then haul it all in and my step father would have earned a good bit of money from it all. We didn't have a whole lot of money back then so it helped to put food on the table. It sells by the pound and prices vary depending on where you are. Many of the places that buy other wild plants will also buy moss so just ask around for the best prices.

Buyers tend to only want moss taken from logs even though the stuff growing on rocks look the same. They like log moss because the dried bits of wood clinging to it weighs a lot less than dried bits of rock. 

I used this as a good money maker when I was just 17 years old. At that time I was in the national guards and still living at home so I had no real bills to pay. I used the money I made to keep gas in my car to run around with. Though at that time $1.06 was maddeningly high for regular unleaded, so I usually just sold it wet. I owned an old Nissan Maxima, which I drove around and mistreated just like I do my Grand Am. Since I had no truck I couldn't haul a lot of moss. I could fit five bags in the trunk, three or four in the back seat and two in the front passenger seat. which would net me around 50 dollars back then and would fill my tank up like 5 times. Now-a-days we can no longer do that and i can no longer recommend wasting  moss by selling it wet. In the past, through out West Virginia, it was fairly common to see trucks loaded town with bags and bags of moss. While this was a good income for a lot of poor families. The over cultivation has taken a toll on the moss population. Now you are required to have a permit to collect it on public lands. I do not believe the permit is a lot more than 15 dollars.

This is a fairly easy hunt and all you really need is maybe a pair of gloves in case there are some thorns mixed in and a lot of big canvas bags, which buyers will happily provide for free most of the time. The moss can be found in cool damp forests with a lot of old growth and fallen trees. Any one who has ever walked through the woods at some point should have some idea of where they could find this natural treasure.

8 comments:

  1. This reminds me of last year, I went mushroom picking;Morels, to be exact. It's a dryer's market as well, but you can get 500 bucks a pound for them dried, and number 1 quality. One of the guys I was with used to sell the blacks for an extra 100 bucks a pound

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  2. That's pretty cool. I know a few people who pick those, but they all eat them. No idea what they go for around home.

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  3. =O

    no idea about the moss issue XD

    will follow dude ;)

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  4. Can't you drink the water from it too?

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  5. I wouldn't suggest it. Moss is highly acidic and can have a fungus in it that can cause a pretty nasty fungal infection.

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  6. Never knew someone would be so interested in this.

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  7. I had a fungal infection that lasted a year once... it was pretty crazy and all the medicine the doctors gave me., YUCK

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