When it comes to sustainability, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. I, for one, like to think that because I have an entire cupboard devoted to empty glass jars from condiments, wear my clothes till they give up on me, and (occasionally) haul my compost to the greenmarket, I’m as eco-friendly as they come.
But then I discovered these Heirloomed Feast Boards. They’re sourced from a Georgia-based company that’s taking a revolutionary approach to woodcraft. And, well, I’ll let Wayne Bedenbender, Co-Founder of Woodkith (which literally combines wood + friendship), do the talking...
MAGGIE SLOVER: You often hear of reclaimed wood, but seldom “rescued.” Can you explain what makes this process unique?
WAYNE BEDENBENDER: We utilize wood from trees that have fallen in storms or need to be removed from properties so in a sense we’re saving them and keeping the story of each tree alive. Now people call us all the time… Last year we were able to salvage wood from a huge pecan tree on a farm in South Georgia and it was some of the prettiest, most unique wood we’ve had to date.
MS: How does this approach speak to sustainability?
WB: It was surprising for us to learn that oftentimes trees that are taken down commercially can end up in landfills or just rot and waste away—in that sense we are utilizing wood that would otherwise be considered trash. That means we don’t need to cut down more timber for our products.
MS: Back to the boards themselves: What is your favorite use for them?
WB: Charcuterie boards are certainly the most common use for them. We love to entertain so you will always find one on the kitchen island for our guests to enjoy an array of cheeses, meat, olives, and crackers. The boards are also really fun for serving up some rustic meat—sometimes we’ll grill brats and cut them into rounds with toothpicks as an appetizer, or serve racks of ribs on the larger boards. They make a perfect backdrop.
MS: How do you recommend people care for their boards (especially if they get a lot of wear and tear)?
WB: We like to recommend that you use one side of your board to cut and chop and the other side to entertain on, much like a platter. The great thing about the boards being wood is that it’s really hard to mess them up. It’s best to keep them away from heat and condition the wood every now and again. We actually hand-make our own Wood Preserve (made with beeswax and coconut oil) so you can simply wipe the board mixture with a soft cotton cloth whenever it starts losing its luster. To clean your board after serving, we recommend rinsing and wiping clean with water. If you want to go the extra mile, you can make a little paste of kosher salt and lemon juice as well and give it a good ol’ scrub.
MS: What’s your dream cheese board situation?
WB: Cheese, cheese and more cheese! But really, the more the better over here—and working with fresh, seasonal or local ingredients is always a must. We tend to keep them pretty unstructured, with piles and layers of meats and cheese and other things scattered in between. It’s fun to use whatever you have on hand and in the spring and summer we tend to layer in more of the sweet elements for pairing - like a honeycomb, fresh preserves, dipping sauces and fruits.