Neighborwood turns local timber into 'green' kitchen essentials

December 16, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Brian Post has come up with a way to bring a bit of nature indoors to help "green" your cooking routine.

When trees have to come down due to storms or disease, most municipalities send them to the wood chipper. Post had a different idea about a year ago when six trees were removed near his Evanston home.

"I grabbed a couple big logs. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them," Post said. "I cooked. I worked as a chef at Chart House a long time ago and I figured cutting boards would be fun."

The first batch of boards sold almost immediately. After being downsized from a technology sales job, post decided to make more of the low-tech products.

"I had a severance package for a little bit. I figured I'd give myself three or four months to see if I could do something with it or not and before I knew it I was in Chopping Block, Flavour Cooking School. We're in some stores in New Buffalo, Michigan," Post said.

At Flavour cooking school in west suburban Forest Park, the Neighborwood cutting boards are prominently displayed. Post offers eleven different models as well as cheese boards, butcher blocks and even grill cleaners. He labels them with the zip code where the tree came down so buyers have an idea of its history. Of course, each of the items made from the urban growth wood is one-of-a-kind.

"Most of the wood I get, a wood mill would throw it away. They would consider it garbage wood. The more knots, the more characters it has, the quicker it sells for me. People love the uniqueness of the wood," Post said.

Post says his favorite comes from the black walnut tree with its dark brown center. These boards are among his newest addition -- round with the bark still attached. Post believes that adds to the charm.

"A lot of the chefs and a lot of the restaurants, the chefs are always bringing in the local grown food. Why not have a local grown cutting board in your house?" Post asks.

Find out more about Post and Neighborwood—and where products are available, at

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