Posted on 5 Comments

On the Use of Firewood

Because we tend to burn through a lot of fire wood at farmersdotter Artisan Bread Bakery we are sometimes asked about the sustainability of using a wood fired oven. Yes, it takes a lot of wood but in the orchard rich Similkamen Valley we are blessed to have a supply of firewood as orchardists routinely replace aging blocks of fruit trees with popular high density varieties.

Fruit Wood
Fruit Wood
Cherry Branch Pile
Cherry Branch Pile

This can be a challenge because once an orchard block is removed the grower must immediately clear away the spent trees so replanting can begin. It can take up to five years for a new orchard to produce at capacity and a grower will not wait long to clear a remediated block.




Arguably it may be quicker to burn a pile of pulled up trees on site to get the land cleared but we work with a local, and all too chipper, contractor who works with growers to remove their old orchard blocks. He is good at it. He is quick which keeps the orchardist happy then processes the wood for farmersdotter which keeps us happy and him in business.



This is one our favourite trees at farmersdotter. It is a mountain ash full of rich berries for the birds. It will not see the inside of an oven anytime soon.

Mountain Ash
Mountain Ash

5 thoughts on “On the Use of Firewood

  1. Yes, what to do with expired wood. It takes nitrogen out of the air to decay it, so not burning it is not completely harmless. Using it to fire a kiln to bake bread is beneficial to some degree. Since also the other bread we eat does have energy costs associated with preparing and baking too. Otherwise we should all eat more raw grains. We have to all simplify our own lives. Its all complicated.

    1. Yes, it is complicated. We like to think burning wood is traditional and replaces carbon-producing fuels. Considering wood fuel as part, albeit accelerated part, of the carbon cycle there possibly is a positive net impact on the carbon footprint. Besides, butter is better on wood fired bread 😉

  2. We burn wood indoors for heating purposes. We use it sparingly to supplement the propane. It is too costly to go with Geothermal retrofitted and we have no other source of heat other than propane or fuel oil. I figure that at least wood is a renewable energy source. We get ours free by helping others clean up after storm damage. Love the post

    1. Hey DrJeff77. Thank you for your comment. Glad to here you can supplement costly fossil fuels with wood. In addition to our oven in the bakery we too heat our home with wood. Splitting wood is great exercise. I admire your efforts at Heritage Breeds Farm and applaud your desire to preserve heritage breeds and genetic diversity. Good on you. Cheers! Morris

      1. Thanks Morris. It is great to see what others are doing in their place within the world. We are trying o do some alternative things with our small farm and preservation of heritage breeds are a large part of it. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement!

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