Earlywood is the thirteenth in my Sunday series featuring American Artisans. There are so many exceptionally talented craftspeople, designers, and small companies across the country who share my love of handcrafted quality, and this is my chance to introduce them to you. These artisans are creating beautiful, useful and delicious products that elevate the experience of everyday cooking, dining, and entertaining. They’re using skills, techniques, and materials that might otherwise be lost in our era of mass production. Their work makes me happy, and I hope it does the same for you. Each feature will be paired with a giveaway to give you the chance to experience their work for yourselves. I’ll be doing these features every other Sunday for the foreseeable future, so be sure to check back, and enjoy!
Hey everybody — I’m gearing up for a busy fall with so many new talented artisans to share with you, just in time for all the cozy cooking and baking we’re going to be doing this season. All of my artisans’ hand made products make unique, hip, and thoughtful gifts, too, so stay tuned — or better yet, sign up on my email list (HERE) — so you won’t miss any of the fun! Today I’m thrilled to be hosting Brad Bernhart from Earlywood Designs, in Red Lodge, Montana. Brad makes heirloom quality wooden kitchen tools that have completely stolen my heart.
“Wooden spoons and similar cooking implements have been around since the first time someone ate a meal and didn’t use their fingers! That very fact makes our design work so essential. It’s only through creativity and innovation that we can improve upon such a timeless object.”
I contacted Brad a couple of months ago with the thought of including Earlywood in this series and he sent along some samples for me to play with. The first thing I pulled out of the box was a large ladle. It has a silky finish, a sensual sway to the handle, and a heft like no other kitchen tool I’ve ever held. Some of you who are lucky enough to have inherited your grandmothers’ wooden spoons, or rolling pins, will know what I’m talking about. This could easily double as your meat pounder, and errant spouses beware— this thing is weapons grade!
I don’t know about you all, but I have a ridiculous tangle of tools stacked by my stove. Every time I want to grab something there is a clang and clatter that drives me crazy. The thought of replacing it all with just a few multi-tasking wooden implements is really appealing. It would cut down on the clutter AND the clatter. The funny thing is, pre-Earlywood, my assortment of tools included just ONE wooden spoon. I’ve since learned that wood is idea for cooking and serving food. Brad carefully chooses the best woods for the job — hard maple, Mexican ebony, bloodwood, jatoba, and chechen. These are super hard woods that don’t soak up water, flavor, stains, or bacteria. They’re meant to last. And just like so many of the artisans in this series, sustainability is a critical part of Earlywood’s business plan, so for every tree they use, they plant 100 seedlings in the Brazilian rain forest. It’s just nice to know.
Brad has the mind of an inventor, so rather than simply recreate what we’re already using in our kitchens, he’s developed new tools to do more jobs, better. Some of them might look strange at first, for instance the ingenious Tera Scraper, above, (which is included in the giveaway,) will saute, flip, scrape, chop, cut, and smash, not to mention scramble a mean egg. If you cook in delicate nonstick pans, these gentle but strong implements are a godsend.
The spreader sets (above) come in 2 sizes and make fantastic host/hostess gifts. And it goes without saying that an assortment of these pieces would make a memorable wedding gift.
Brad says you have several different choices when it comes to caring for his wood. You can read the details on his site, but the three golden rules are:
- Wash them by hand.
- Do not put them in the dishwasher.
- Never let them soak in water.
If you’ve been scared away from wooden utensils because of cleaning concerns, this should put you at ease. If you are worried about bacteria, there have been several studies proving that wood actually discourages the growth of bacteria far better than other surfaces, proving once again that natural is usually best.
These tools are sleek, and modern, eco-friendly, and an absolute pleasure to hold and use. I think you’re going to fall in love with them just like I did.
Earlywood is generously giving away a gorgeous set of implements, including a large ladle, which I consider the star of the collection, and the “trifecta”, a saute, scraper and spreader trio, to one lucky reader!
You have two ways to enter, please visit Earlywood, HERE, and poke around, then come back and comment. For a second entry, join me on my email list HERE, and let me know in a second comment (if you are already on the email list, leave a second comment letting me know)…you have until Friday September 18th to enter — good luck!
(Giveaway has ended )
** The winner of the giveaway is Deb Harris — congratulations Deb! **
*I use Random.org to pick the winner, and will announce it here on Saturday.