Modern use of a primeval plant species will be the topic of a program at the Friends of the Black River’s November meeting. Growing in marshlands since the last Ice Age, sphagnum moss is valued today by gardeners for its unique seed starting properties and other uses.
Dave Epstein ofMosser Lee will give a presentation Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, about sphagnum moss and his company’s procedures for managing, harvesting and marketing the resource. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in The Hub meeting room in the Lunda Community Center.
The LCC is located at 405 STH 54, on the south side of Black River Falls. The meeting and program are free and the public is encouraged to attend.
A renewable resource, the moss regenerates in the same bogs every five to seven years. The company uses proven harvesting methods to maintain the valuable wet lands.
The long-fibered winter-hearty perennial has unique water retention and anti-bacterial qualities.Because of those characteristics, early indigenous peoples used the moss to dress wounds and diaper babies.
Because of its abilities to both absorb and hold 20 times its weight in water and repel bacteria sphagnum moss has been heralded by horticulturists as the best solution to a number of basic gardening problems.
According to Epstein, Mosser Lee is the largest harvester and processor of sphagnum moss products in North America. Located in Millston near the Black River State Forest, the company, initially known as the American Foliage Mart, has been owned and operated by the William Epstein family since 1932.
Epstein took over management of the company after his father, Lewis’ untimely death in 1978. Epstein incorporated the business under the Deli, Inc. name when he bought the business from his uncle and his mother.
Under the Mosser Lee division, the business owns about 1,000 acres of sphagnum moss marshland where it grows wild. The company assists Jackson County in managing the marshlands the company owns.
“We typically find beavers, snakes and frogs in our marshes,” said Epstein.
The business also works closely with the Horticulture Department at the University of Wisconsin in Madison to develop new products.
Under David’s management, a line of home contaminant testing kits for drinking water, radon and mold, was developed under the LabTech brand. The company’s water test kits are now sold in all 50 states and are the most popular water test kits sold in major retailers.
Epstein’s presentation is part of FBR’s ongoing mission to bring educational programs about the environmental and conservation issues to the community.
For more information about FBR, email firstname.lastname@example.org.