Tucked away in rural Oxford, woodworker David Schonberger has a huge respect for the forest and the wood that is found in the heart of the Carolinian Life Zone. As the creator of Ottercreek Woodworks, David creates a vast array of charcuterie boards in his workshop using local, sustainably harvested wood. While the time and energy that goes into each board is clear from the finished product, Ottercreek Woodworks is now opening their doors to offer an exclusive experience to visitors wishing to deepen their reverence for the forest while at the same time crafting a beautiful live-edge charcuterie board with the woodworker himself. Tackling nature deficit disorder head on, Dave's Tree to Table Experience offers guests the opportunity to unplug and reconnect with Mother Nature...plus sends them home with a killer board. Already convinced? Grab a gift card!
The day begins on lush rural property where you'll be greeted warmly by a campfire with locally-baked Dutch stroopwaffels and tea foraged and steeped by Dave's wife Michelle using ingredients from around the farm. It's the perfect way to start a day outdoors.
After getting to know each other and noshing on treats, the forest calls! You'll trek through a muddy field (remember how much you loved that squishy feeling in your boots as a kid?) and enter a lush forest filled with all kinds of wood species. Join David as he points out the various kinds which include everything from cherry to white pine and black walnut. Learn about the changes witnessed in this forest and how Dave sources his wood sustainably as he shows you the imperfections that set his boards apart from the rest. According to him, it's the gnarls and twists in the trees that lend his boards personality.
Heading inside to a warm woodshop and heaping piles of handcrafted boards, you'll have the opportunity to select the raw wood you'll craft your board from. Making note of colour, grain patters and rare oddities, you'll have a chance to select from smooth classic woods to downright quirky. Once you've picked the perfect piece, David's wife and local artist Michelle will help you draw your board on the raw wood taking shape, bark and grain patterns all into consideration.
Once the board is cut, David will guide you through the nitty gritty of creating your feasting board. With 20 steps total, you'll have a chance to get your hands on a variety of tools (including David's grandfather's tools) and truly experience the detail and care that goes into crafting each board. Watch the woodchips fly as you sand, cut, drill and shape with David's guidance every step of the way.
Before finishing off the board however, a feast awaits. Following Dave and Michelle out past the gardens where chickens graze freely, the group will come upon a beautiful charcuterie board lunch atop a table made by (well, you guessed it) David. Served on a gigantic Feasting Board and smaller wood plates, the spread is filled with local treats from smoked meats by Greener Pastures Eco Farm down the road to pickled preserves, garlic mustards, Gunn's Hill cheese, out-of-this-world breads and even homemade butters. How's that for hitting pause?
Unfortunately, every great day must come to a close and from there it's time to head back to the workshop to finish your charcuterie board. The final step of oiling your board takes it from "cool" to "WOW!" in just a few minutes. Watch the colours pop as your board soaks in the oil and you add your own custom tag to your board. Heading home, you'll feel inspired to give back to the forest and reconnect with Mother Nature in the very near future once more.
If you'd like to sign up for this one of a kind experience, head over to OttercreekWoodworks.com Please note that this experience requires a minimum of 4 people to run and a maximum of 6.
Stay tuned for fall dates!