We were delighted when Certainly Wood contacted us, challenging us to get cooking with wood. We couldn’t resist and waited with excitement until the package arrived. The package arrived containing, kiln dried wood, kindling, fire starters, BBQ tools, an apron and a booklet on how to cook with wood – Fabulous! We’ve learned so much since being in Devon about cooking on different outdoor equipment, using different fuels, but there is something almost romantic about cooking with wood, back to nature, outdoor survival, the call of the wild and boy did it bring back memories of Guide Camp, boiling water over wood for cocoa before bedtime, toasting marshmallows and the dreaded washing up !
Before we let you know how we got on, here’s a bit about the company and their ethos. Certainly Wood is a British firm that is very ecologically conscious because it sources its timber from renewable hardwood forests within a hundred mile radius and then removes 80% of the moisture by drying them in wood burning kilns, using a mixture of their own wood waste and electricity generated by solar panels.
Whilst open fires are one of the biggest causes of particulate emissions in large cities, it was only recently that DEFRA realised that the quality of wood being sold and burned was also fundamental to the problem of particulate pollution. Whilst many garages still sell nets of ‘seasoned’ logs, these often contain well over 30% moisture content because they have been imported from overseas and are far from being ‘Ready to Burn’. DEFRA is currently working closely with the log supply industry to address this and Certainly Wood has been at the forefront of this process. It was the first firewood business in the UK to be approved under the HETAS/Woodsure quality assured fuel scheme nearly 10 years ago.
The company was set up by brothers George and Nic in 2006.Before this, George worked with their father Hugh on the family farm producing cider apples for Bulmer and błackcurrants for Ribena and growing poplar trees destined to be turned into matches for the Bryant & May factory.- but the factory closed before the trees were fully grown and therefore viable to be used for kindling. Nic, meanwhile, pursued a career initially growing raspberries, then running a local soft fruit co-operative, and finally in marketing for a larger co-op.
The production of kindling was the principal means of diversification on the farm for the best part of 40 years. However, it was agreed by the brothers from the outset that the company and farm would be considered entirely independent of one another. Whereas the farm originally produced 1000 tonnes of barn dried firewood, the company today produces 16000 tonnes of kiln dried firewood and 2500 tonnes of kindling, making it much the largest specialist producer in the UK. What has always been seen as a traditional cottage industry, supplying customers with firewood in specified quantities, has become a product of a consistently high quality, hence the HETAS quality assurance.
We were very impressed with the starter kit, it had everything needed for someone who had never cooked with wood before. The handy booklet tells you how to set the fire and even has some delicious recipes. We decided to go for broke and cooked a leg of lamb. Our fire pit is still in its box so we used the weber kettle BBQ and it worked a treat. I learned to set fires from the worlds greatest pyromaniac, my Papa, oh and of course Girl Guides. The wood its self was a dream, lighting almost immediately under the kindling and I loved the little flamers firelighter, it was brilliant and ignited the kindling almost instantly.The lamb took just over an hour, we like it rare and was smokey as well as being deliciously succulent. We’re hooked now, next stop a pizza.