Fatwood fuels efforts of conservation and
economic recovery in troubled Honduras.
Orvis Fatwood is more than a pretty pile of sticks. Besides being a great gift for any household, a gift rooted in American traditions of the Old South as well as the North, Fatwood continues to light the way for the Orvis Company, providing a shining example for employees and customers alike of our commitment to quality and sustainable business practices.
"Fatwood" is what folks in Florida and Georgia call kindling collected from the stumps of the gulf region's pine trees, particularly longleaf pines. In other areas it's called "lighterwood," "fatlighter," and "heart pine." But, as Orvis Chairman, Leigh Perkins says, "whatever it's called, it sure as hell works!" Leigh thought there might be a few takers for the product, especially since, "my parents' guests from the Northern United States would always want to take a box of it home with them."
Originally, Fatwood was harvested from the stumps left over from logging operations of the past. Pine pitch, which has many uses including in the making of turpentine, is natural resin that lights quickly, stays lit for a while, and smells great. It's found in highest concentration in stumps of mature long-leaf pines.
Using cross-cut saws, early loggers left a tall stump behind and generally had no notion of sustainable harvesting practice. Leigh Perkins "found some old pulp and timber cutters who knew the woods and would go back into the forest and salvage the old fatwood stumps."
Since its introduction in the United States in 1969, Orvis Fatwood has been a catalogue favourite. The success of Fatwood surprised everyone. As a result, supplies of leftover stumps that could be harvested in a low-impact manner were quickly used up.
The challenge was put to our buyers to find a supply of fatwood that was of similar quality and was harvested in a sustainable, low-impact manner in keeping with Orvis' environmental mission.
Orvis is committed to the environment through our business practices, the conservation projects we support, and the practices of our suppliers. Our 100% natural Fatwood is no exception. We work solely with the most environmentally-responsible companies in the industry. Our Fatwood suppliers are SmartWood/FSC-certified, which means that their business practices are held to the highest, most environmentally-responsible standards. Our Fatwood, a by-product of the sustainable timber industry, primarily in Central America, is never taken from living trees, and does not come from rainforest areas. After a section of managed forest has been harvested, our contractors remove the resin-rich Fatwood from the remaining pine stumps. The forest floor is renewed, which aids reforestation and reduces the risk of forest fires.
In addition to being ecologically beneficial, responsible harvesting of Fatwood helps the local economy, too. Employment prospects in Central America have been severely hurt by a dramatic decrease in the price paid for coffee beans. Since Fatwood is one of the few raw wood products that holds nearly all of its value in the labour required to harvest, cut, and package it, jobs are created and people are given an ongoing opportunity to earn a living.
When you buy Orvis Fatwood, you’re buying an all-natural product harvested in an ecologically, socially, and economically responsible manner. That’s why we say our safe, non-toxic, clean-burning Fatwood is the best in the world.
Orvis is proud to offer our earth-friendly Fatwood.