The Family behind our Local Maine Grilling Woods

The Theobald family is the bomb.

When you read the interview below, you’ll see why. They’re the people behind our grilling woods from Maine, and they’re doing right by their customers, community, and the environment. We recently spoke with Ken Theobald (the founder), and got some more info on the company.

SFB: What made you decide to go into the grilling woods business?

Ken: Just over 10 years ago, my wife and I found a building lot we were interested in buying because we were going to downsize our farmstead in Brooks, Maine. Unfortunately, the lot had over 200 non-producing apple trees on it. After some thought, we decided that we would start a small business using the apple trees for grilling woods. Once we began this, orders came in for other species, so our business grew and we now offer other varieties (all indigenous to Maine) as well.

We happen to be in the perfect climate for grilling woods.

SFB: It appears that you run the business in a sustainable manner that supports the local economy. Is it more difficult to do so, and if so, what drives you to continue this practice?

Ken: We do conduct our business in a sustainable manner that supports the local economy. Since our wood must be freshly cut, dirt free, and pleasing to the eye in order to be of the best quality for our clients, it is necessary that local farmstead and woodlot owners harvest the wood by hand. This is the only way in which we can achieve the quality our customers demand. We pay our local woodcutters a premium for their special handling, and in turn support the local economy.

SFB: What is the most satisfying part about what you do?

Ken: My satisfaction comes on two fronts. First of all, I love seeing local families bringing in wood to augment their family income. Just the other day, I complimented one of our local suppliers on the quality of his wood. His comment to me was, “if it was not for you buying our wood over this last winter, I don’t think our family could have made it!” If that does not give you goose bumps, nothing will. Secondly, it is incredibly satisfying to hear the compliments our customers are receiving from family and friends when they use our grilling woods. Every homemaker, chef, or backyard griller loves hearing that their food was delicious, and we like playing a part in that.

SFB: Why choose your product over others?

Ken: Other than the points I have already mentioned, we happen to be in the perfect climate for grilling woods. Maine has a very short growing season, which means the density of our wood is much greater than the southern varieties. Density translates into a much more favorable smoke. Where there is smoke, there is flavor.

Photo by mtneer_man via Flickr
By Specialty Administrator