We have recently started producing lump wood charcoal from the wood produced from managing our Poplar windbreaks at Collins Farm. Charcoal is obtained by heating wood until its complete pyrolysis (carbonisation) occurs, leaving only carbon and inorganic ash. Traditionally, charcoal was produced by covering the wood with mud or clay in a ‘clamp’. We use a traditional steel kiln that is loaded with logs cut in to 12-14” lengths, stacked radially to the top. The lid is then returned but left ajar until the kiln has been lit and a good fire has established at the base. The lid is then closed and the air ducts at the base closed in rotation to reduce the flow of oxygen to the fire. The kiln is then left to burn for approximately 2 days. Regular monitoring is required to check the colour and distribution of smoke from the 4 chimneys. The kiln should produce thick white smoke for approximately 24-36 hours, after which the smoke will start to fade and turn blue. The burn is then complete and the kiln is allowed to cool for 2-3 days or more before it can be unloaded and the charcoal packed in to paper bags for sale. The process is an ancient woodland craft and we have learnt by trial and error!

The Poplar-derived charcoal is ideal for domestic barbecues and lights very quickly and easily. The coals typically reach cooking temperature within 15 minutes and have a very hot, clean burn, however do not have the longevity of harder woods so top-ups are required! Please call for availability as we only burn a small amount each year and supplies don’t usually last long.


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