The following story was recently posted on the Northwest Natural Resource Group blog. For the full text of the blog including a story on tapping big leaf maple trees, click here.
Lynn Baker and her partner Eve Lonnquist are members of the Oregon Woodland Co-Op, a group of over 70 private family forestland owners in Oregon. They’ve been selling bundled firewood through the Co-op since 2012.
Lynn and Eve, along with Eve’s brothers, steward Cedar Row Farm—a 160-acre forest nestled in the Nehalem River foothills. The forest was purchased by Eve’s grandmother in 1919. Now, the family is returning their stretch of the Nehalem floodplain back to shade-providing conifers as part of a Natural Resources Conservation Service project.
The firewood comes from Cedar Row Farm’s thinning projects and fallen trees from snow and wind storms. It’s turned into three types of firewood bundles: “Regular,” which is a mix of fir, alder, and hardwoods; “Kindling,” which is smaller pieces of cedar and fir; and “Premium,” which is a mix of hardwoods including oak, maple, and cherry.
Lynn handles all of the firewood orders. Right now, about 20 grocery and hardware stores are stocking their bundles. Their vendors include New Seasons, Green Zebra, Gaston Market, and some Ace Hardware stores. 8.5% of the wholesale price of the firewood goes to the co-op for management and marketing, and the rest is passed on to the farmer. The regular bundle retails for about $7.
“Our customers really like our firewood,” Lynn says. “If you look at our bundles next to other bundles, it’s really beautiful, high-quality product.” The quality of the wood isn’t the only attractant: the label on the bundle explains that Cedar Row Farm is certified through NNRG’s FSC© group certificate, which sets it apart from most firewood sold at grocery stores as being from a responsibly-managed forest. The label also includes the story of the farm, so buyers know exactly where the wood comes from, how it’s harvested, and who manages the forest.
These humble chords of wood represent a win-win-win situation: wood buyers feel good about the responsibly sourced and hyper-local wood warming their homes and camp fires, Eve & Lynn take home around $7000 a year in profit, and their stewardship of the forest balances the multiple goals of recreation, income from timber harvest, and wildlife habitat in their forest.
A full list of stores carrying Eve and Lynn’s firewood is available here. Eve & Lynn also sell chiminea firewood, available through Little Baja. Other products sold through Oregon Woodland Co-op include evergreen boughs, Canopy Essential Oils (created by another NNRG member, Jim Merzenich of Oak Basin Tree Farm, and Co-op members Neil Schroeder and Richard Hanschu at Oregon Forest Canopy) and Oregon Heartwood.