BIRCH: THE PERFECT WOOD FOR KITCHEN WARES
Birch trees have the beautiful and elegant white silvery trunks with a pale bark that flakes like shedding a skin keeping them forever silvery-new. I gather the shedding allows the trunks to grow and expand, but also for them to photosynthesis as their bark is thin enough to allow them to do that. It means they can make ‘food’ from the sunlight even before they’re in full leaf.
The photo is of the woodland where the birch for our hand carved spoons, spreaders and coffee scoops came from: it’s at the edge of a large sustainably managed woodland near Benenden in Kent.
Being sustainably managed means the wood is looked after to make usre enough light is let in the wood floor and trees and plants have the space they need to grow strong in. It also means encouraging bio-diversity and native species so the woodland is restored to its own healthy balance.
Birch is a quick growing ‘pioneer’ species, which means it’s one of the first types of tree or shrub to grow on land that’s been cleared, perhaps due to fire, or land clearing etc..
Birch has strong long fibres and which make it good for carving kitchen wares. In Scandinavia it’s used extensively for furniture, wooden wares and even skis. There and in North America the bark grows thicker than it does in the UK so traditionally it was used to waterproof roofs and for weaving beautiful baskets and stitched containers
Sometimes self-seeded birch needs to be thinned out to let more light in for the slower growing oak and ash trees which is all done as part of sustainable woodland management. It’s trees that have been felled in this way that Amy uses to carve her beautiful homewares from, including the kitchen utensils she did just for us with their hand-painted yellow handles looking perfect against the pale Birch wood of the spoon and spreader.