I thought to design a vessel - a tray, a platter, a simple board - that would do three things: encourage avocado consumption, introduce a new experience for those who already enjoy avocados, and create a simple solution to the small problem of avocados rolling around on a plate in a service setting. By way of woodworking, product design, and materials, I had limited resources. Through a little bit of frugal innovation, asking for help along the way, and a love for story, I humbly present Avocado Boards. Designed to simply and handsomely serve an avocado on the half-shell without rolling around all over the place.
THE FIRST BATCH
This first batch of boards are made from the wood of reclaimed avocado trees, having been cut down by firefighters, over the past seven years, in the foothills of a canyon in Malibu, CA. You don't hear much about woodworking with avocado because the wood tends to split easily. It is good for carving and turning, and smells great - something close to star anise. In the off-season, many farmers sell any fallen or mature trees as firewood for a little bit of extra income.
The wood from the trailhead in Malibu sat in burn piles; heaps of stumps and limbs seasoning naturally over the course of seven years. These piles were home to snakes who took to the cool shade of the piles during summertime heat. In this area, children could occasionally be found working with educators on replanting the ground with seeds of new growth.
CALIFORNIA AVOCADO FESTIVAL
Much of the excitement about making avocado boards is meeting the people who love the fruit as much as I do. I found these people in droves during the 29th Annual California Avocado Festival in Carpinteria. I couldn't have been there without the support and belief from the festival - namely my biggest champion there, Samantha Maas.
Over a month after the deadline had passed to apply to become an Art or Craft Vendor. It was the last week of July, and the festival ran the first weekend of October. I emailed regarding the unresponsive payment page to apply, and was told all spots were closed and I'd have - at best - to wait until the following year. Ms. Maas inquired about the product I would want to sell. Once I told her about the Avocado Board, I received an email within a few hours of my acceptance into the festival - what swift and fantastic news! I have sent in an application for the 30th Annual festival this year, with hopes of nabbing a corner tent space (larger) and maybe even the permit to serve avocado salads, too.
Avocado wood is not rare in Southern California, but it is hardly used for woodworking.
Nowhere else in the country - save Florida - maintains the necessary climate and industry for growing the trees. So when milling the stumps down to usable pieces, I found myself with lots of off-cuts and miscellaneous sizes of wood pieces that I didn't want to discard. So I saved everything I could - even some of the shavings [I'm telling you, they smell great] - to work with later.
You'll find a limited selection of serving boards, bowl, and dish for charcuterie, bread, and the like. If an avocado board is not your thing but you still would like to support this venture, grab one of these cool little items to keep around!
STAMPED, SEALED, DELIVERED
The hand logo + stamp you see in the video, on the boards, and everywhere I do business is an image of my birthmark. Just like this mark, every board is one of a kind, made by my hands - the same (right) hand embalmed in a two-color stamp, somewhere on your board. After I stamp, I then individually burn the image into the wood so it stays there forever. From my hand, to yours.
With limited resources and materials, I have done the best I could in making as many boards and products as I could. I have only a few more provisions of blanks and scraps for a follow-up run to this first one - which don't necessarily guarantee a final product. Avocado wood is prone to splitting and checking (expanding and contracting during the drying process). This is the reason for natural figuring and unique features on each board made, thus far.
I am on the search for new resources, especially - but not limited to - avocado wood. Any fruitwood or nut wood would be a beautiful thing to get in the shop, so please, if you have any leads on people who might be willing to donate a couple trees from their orchard, some space in a drying kiln, or any type of material, I want to hear from you. If you head to the MENU portion of this site, click 'DONATE' and contribute what you can.
Thank you for your support, now and always.