One step in the design process here at Earlywood is to define how and why traditional wooden spoons fall short when it comes to many common cooking tasks. Once the downfall is identified, the next step is to design a tool that will excel at that task, while maintaining a form that is pleasing to the eye and comfortable in the hand. The reasonably priced Trifecta is the result of 3 such iterations of our design process. It scrapes, spreads, and stirs better than any traditional wooden spoon can.
- The L Flat Sauté paddle is perfect for stirring nearly everything we cook. It is 13" long, which allows it to keep the cook's hand far from the heat and provide more projected surface area (pardon the specifics, but I am a mechanical engineer after all) than a regular wooden spoon, so they mix up your dinners quicker and more efficiently. The radius at the front corner of the L Flat Sauté is also smaller than that of a regular bowled wooden spoon, thus allowing you to get into those previously unreachable tight pan corners.
- The Giga Scraper, with a straight front edge is designed to remove the stubborn, yet tasty morsels of food stuck to the bottom of your pan. Ever tried scraping polenta or salmon off the bottom of a cast-iron pan with a regular wooden spoon? What takes 50 scrapes with a spoon, will take 5 with the wide path of the Giga Scraper.
- The third musketeer, the Large Spreader, makes easy work of spreading thick dips, cutting cheeses, and handling all other spreadables from hummus and brie to peanut butter and jelly. All tasks which are pointless to even try with a traditional wooden spoon.
We are told over and over again by customers that these are the first tools they reach for when they begin to cook. You know, they’re our favorites too.
You save $1 each when these 3 are bought as the Trifecta and they were Earlywood’s best seller last year. Even in our enthusiasm to release the ladle and servers last month, we wanted to be sure to remind you about these handy and hardworking utensils. Judging by our success at the Made Fair in Missoula, Montana last weekend, we're wondering if the reminder is even necessary.
Happy Holidays from us!
What is earlywood?
Do you remember the last time you looked at a cross section of a tree and counted the growth rings? What you were really doing is counting how many times the earlywood/latewood cycle has taken place. Each year, every tree adds a ring of earlywood cells and a ring of latewood cells. These rings tell the age of the tree and a lot more. The thickness of the rings tells how favorable growing conditions were that year. You can count your way back through the rings of a tree and pick out the nicest summers and the harshest winters. You can also count the rings across the end of an Earlywood spoon and see how long it took to grow that spoon.
Earlywood develops in the spring when rain and nutrients from the soil are abundant and days are getting long. New growth makes up the better part of the ring, and in many woods, it is lighter in color than latewood, which develops towards the end of summer before the tree goes dormant (in harsh climates). Of course, growth rings can vary drastically in appearance between a tree that was grown in Canada and a tree that grew in Brazil.
Earlywood is porous, and made up of thin walled cells, compared to latewood, which is influenced by colder temperatures and drier conditions. As a result, latewood is made of densely-layered, strong, thick-walled cells. Both earlywood and latewood serve a purpose for the tree. It’s the latewood that gives wood the majority of its strength, and the earlywood keeps the tree growing by delivering water and nutrients.
What is Earlywood?
In that spirit of renewal and growth of spring that gives earlywood the chance to grow, we have created the Earlywood kitchen utensil product line. We've taken the common form – a simple spoon – to an uncommon level of quality in function and beauty. Spoons have been around for thousands of years, but that doesn’t mean anything other than that they have been around for thousands of years. I use my background in design/mechanical engineering to analyze every single aspect of the spoon and its purpose. No detail is too small to change if it makes the utensil better. I often start with a specific task in mind and design a utensil that fulfills the need. It is an iterative process and I commonly reference this Buckminster Fuller quote for inspiration and a reality check.
“When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”
This is why all Earlywood utensils are both utilitarian and beautiful. So that is Earlywood from a design and product standpoint, but Earlywood means a lot more for us. Earlywood is also a way of life. It’s a way to feel good about using a sustainable resource to create beautiful objects that can be passed on through generations. It’s an excuse to spend time in the shop working with our hands. It’s a way to stay creative. It’s a small business and is a way to connect with and give back to our local community. Earlywood is first in quality, and we will maintain that as long as we are able to wake up and make it to the shop. Also, we’re planning a couple holiday giveaways and money-saving promotions for friends of Earlywood in the next few weeks. Like us on Facebook so you don’t miss out.
When we considered our new product line for fall 2012, we went to the hardest-working utensils in the kitchen. We were looking to redesign the tools with heft, the tools that might not be used daily, but needed the strength and visual aesthetic our woods could provide. With that in mind, we introduce the long and short server and the classic ladle.
Our timing for launching these sturdy spoons and ladles is no accident. Last year, they topped the list of most-requested products. Now, we’re hoping you’ll add them to your collection in time to use them for all the heavy lifting at your holiday dinners.
The long server is available in hard maple, jatoba, bloodwood, and Peruvian walnut. We designed it with a triangular-shaped handle to keep it from spinning in your hand as you stir. The short server is available in hard maple, jatoba, and bloodwood. Both are perfect for scooping mashed potatoes, digging into casseroles and stirring hearty soups and stews.
The classic ladle, offered in hard maple and jatoba, has a handle designed to be just long enough to reach the bottom of a deep pot without being cumbersome. Its generous bowl has a thick, slightly-cupped lip – perfect for drip-free serving both at the table and stove-side. We have found this ladle to be perfect for this fall’s first batch of chili, and with the colder months still to come, we’re sure to use it again and again.
In our design and testing process, we were impressed at the versatility of these new utensils, and we think you’ll be surprised how often you use them. Like every design at Earlywood, the servers and the ladle were crafted to rest easily in your hand, look beautiful on your table and last a lifetime.
In the coming month we’re planning on pitching a few holiday sales and promotions. Sign up for our newsletter at the bottom right side of the page to be sure you don’t miss out.
What a year it has been here at Earlywood Designs! It seems like just yesterday that we launched our website and began selling handcrafted wooden kitchen utensils. The response to our products has been fantastic. Not only have we sold hundreds of spoons, spreaders, scrapers and sauté paddles, we heard from numerous customers who said their Earlywood utensil is now the first thing they reach for when they start any cooking project. What an honor!
This fall, we’re rolling out a variety of new products to complement our classic designs from last year, and we are adding several new features to our website including this blog and newsletter. If you are not already signed up for the newsletter, you can join our mailing list by entering your email in the box at the bottom right side of any page on the Earlywood website.
We’re planning on using these innovations to connect with our customers. We want to get to know you and find out how you’re using Earlywood utensils. We’ll let you know all about our new products and as the holidays approach, we’ll pitch some fun promotions.
Sure, we’re experiencing lots of changes, but you can rest-assured, nothing has changed in our process. We’re still crafting quality wooden kitchen utensils that will last a lifetime.
Bradley Bernhart, owner