Slate Hill Charcoal, based in Baydon, is offering charcoal made from locally sourced single-species wood. The business was started earlier this year by Luke and Helen Breedon, who are keen to offer an alternative to imported charcoal which often comes from countries such as Nigeria and Paraguay where deforestation is a major issue.
Luke told Marlborough.news, “Last year 90% of the charcoal sold in the UK was imported from countries such as Paraguay where they are tearing down the rain forest. The barbecue charcoal we are producing comes from sustainably managed woodlands, from trees that once cut down and turned into our BBQ fuel, will grow again or be re-planted.
British hardwoods produce lumpwood charcoal that is less dense and with a much higher carbon content (up to 95%) than the imported stuff. This means it will light easily (without the need for lighter fluid or other noxious accelerants) and produce a clean even heat to cook on more quickly.”
Slate Hill Charcoal are selling single species ash or alder charcoal in 100% recyclable packaging. There are three sizes available – a 1kg light in the bag (ash only), 3 kg and 6 kg. Firelighters made from shredded wood and dipped in beeswax are included with each bag.
Luke explained, “Alder burns very hot and is recommended for cooking fish and veg. It does a really good job charring them. Charcoal made from ash is a good all-rounder. Our charcoal gets hot very quickly and produces very little ash. There are no additives or plastics.
Regular cutting of our woods here in UK to produce barbecue charcoal (or plenty of other coppice products) helps to create more diverse habitats and so improve biodiversity. Add to that the fact that there are no air miles and that you’re supporting local businesses and the reasons to buy British charcoal just keep growing.”
Luke and Helen (an ex St John’s student) met at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester where they studied Rural Land Management. Luke’s interest has always been in wood. He wrote his dissertation on wood countryside management and has previously been involved in woodland management.
Slate Hill charcoal is available at several local shops such as : Packaging Not Included and Andrews butchers in Marlborough, Aldbourne Post Office, Baydon Village Stores, Lawn Farm Shop, Pewsey, Christian Alba’s Butchers, Hungerford. Helen and Luke will also be selling their charcoal at the next Hungerford Food Festival on August 8th.