Between the cast iron, wooden spoons, and creamline raw milk, sometimes I feel like I could be in Little House in the Big Woods 150 years ago.
Then again, my refrigerator, blender, and the fact that I’ve never had to keep a bear away from my livestock makes it pretty clear I’m in the 21st century.
I was contacted this summer by some folks in Tennessee who do live a little closer to the land than I do, and they wanted to know if I would review some wooden spoons they make by hand.
Polder’s Old World Market is the storefront for the Polder family, where they sell their wooden spoons and a few other products. The spoons are made from fallen hardwood on their property, “a valuable resource which would otherwise decay and go to waste.”
You know I love that part already!
It took me about a million years to decide which spoons I wanted to try out from their store, for real, because there were so many.
The simple paddle is so long (over 15″), a real workhorse. There’s no other way to say it but that I feel like Ma Ingalls when I use it. I actually feel guilty if I use it in a short pot, like the spoon is expecting only the tallest, widest pot I have.
I ought to tie on an apron, stir a brass kettle with all my might, and smell the aroma of a wood stove…in 90-degree heat and humidity. I guess I’m glad I get to use the spoon without having the full experience of pioneer life.
Cottage Serving Spoon
I never really thought about the length of the spoons when I was choosing the ones I wanted, but it’s remarkable how differently the serving spoon (top, 10 3/4 inches) and the paddle spoon (the big one!) feel in my hand.
I do cook sometimes with the serving spoon, and I do find myself wishing it was slightly longer (probably why there is a third “most popular” spoon that is in the middle on length!). I had really wanted a serving spoon lately for the table, since my stirring spoons are always too narrow, and any other big spoons I have are too long and gangly for the table. They would tip out of the casserole dish all the time.
Not this one. It’s just right! I was nervous to use it on tomato sauce, fearing staining, but I took the jump this week so I would know what to tell you. A tiny bit of red remained after washing (which can be done in soapy water, thank goodness, just don’t leave them to soak), but then after one more use, it was totally gone. Good news!
The craftsmanship really is beautiful and unique. I have to admit that I haven’t actually used the little spoons for anything, but I know that when we host company, it will be fun to have such cuteness on the table. For everyday, I’m more of a “dishwasher safe” kind of girl.
Nothing is perfect, and you all know I’ll tell it like it is, right?
- Anything with special washing instructions freaks my husband out for at least the first three years we own it, so he won’t touch it. Ever. It will be my washing responsibility because he’ll be afraid he’ll do it wrong and hurt it. Which is very possible… You’re not supposed to let the spoon soak in water, but at least it’s okay for soap to touch them.
- When I received the spoons, what thrilled me the most was the smooth, gorgeous texture of each one. After just one use, the spoons do feel “not new” anymore though. I can revitalize them by rubbing with oil (recommended about every 3-4 uses) but I need to figure out how to get that into my routine. UPDATE: I’ve been using the wooden spoons in the first picture since last summer very regularly, so I can tell you that although best care for gorgeous wood like this is to re-oil it every 3-5 times you use it…they still look and feel good if you don’t. Ever. :/ I really love the long, sturdy one – it’s the longest utensil I have and is quite at home in my big pot.
- It has to be said: the obvious drawback is the cost of the spoons. When I pulled out the 4 spoons pictured above and thought, “This is $120 worth of spoons,” I nearly fell over. I understand the value of real, handmade work, of sustainable wood, of the fact that, as long as your toddler doesn’t try to play drums with the little ones too often, they should last forever…but it’s hard for this frugal mama to swallow. I think they would make beautiful gifts, for the person who would appreciate them.
Why so Expensive?
Hand-crafted items are becoming a way of the past. It’s very hard to find true artisans who don’t use some sort of forms or machinery to make their goods, but Polder’s is truly an “old world” family business.
A little from the company:
Here’s a link to our About page…but some other facts that may be interesting to people:
-All of our products are genuinely hand-made. We do not use a fancy computer program and CNC machine to mass produce our Fine Wooden Kitchen Utensils. We use chisels, sandpaper, files and a few basic power tools to create all of our products.
-All of our utensils are hand-crafted from a solid piece of wood. We source our wood almost exclusively from local fallen hardwoods.
-We offer a limited lifetime guarantee on all of our wooden utensils!
That last one is good to know! I’ve been petrified that I might drop and crack my new ladles since they arrived last week. The ladles in the store officially are small gravy ladles, but I wanted some big soup ladles, and look what the Polder family came up with:
They’re truly one-of-a-kind so far, very sturdy, smooth, and so unique. I think I’m in love (but don’t tell my husband).
More About the Craftsmanship and Spoons
This is great info from the company about their wares:
- We spend anywhere from 2-4 hours on simple pieces and 3-8 hours on more elaborate designs. We also offer FREE SHIPPING on most of our products.
- We offer a wide range of prices to suit a variety of budgets. Those who purchase our hand-carved kitchen utensils are making a worthwhile investment in their family’s health, and in durable tools for the kitchen that will last a lifetime if properly cared for. By purchasing any of our house-wares or gifts you will be supporting a small, American farm-based business, operated by a family that is dedicated to creating the highest-possible quality products and giving excellent customer service.
- Our products make wonderful, affordable gifts that are unique and heartfelt. Men and women alike are thrilled to receive one or more of our hand-carved kitchen utensils as a gift. We feel that we are truly producing a one-of-a-kind product that is nearly impossible to find elsewhere.
- All of our wooden-ware comes hand-signed and dated by the maker.
- This wood is harvested out of fallen hardwood trees from the property that we farm on…a valuable resource which would otherwise decay and go to waste. We love turning this “scrap” wood into something beautiful and useful that may be passed on to future generations.
- We offer beautiful gift packaging for special occasions. This is especially nice for our wooden kitchen ware and candle-snuffer gift sets. Our gift packaged products will arrive in a reusable hand-crafted wooden crate on a bed of raffia, wrapped in clear cellophane with attractive label and tied with a raffia/ribbon bow.
- We take a personal interest in each of our customers and have received wonderful feedback from them about the quality and beauty of our products (often exceeding their expectations), as well as the warm, cheerful service they have received.
- For more information on the history of Polder’s Old World Market, you can visit our “About” page on our Blog.
If an extra long wooden paddle isn’t speaking to you, feel free to browse the Polder store because their offerings are vast. This would be a perfect Mother’s Day gift or bridal shower present – what a treasured heirloom! – and it’s never too early to have a Christmas gift for that foodie who would appreciate real value.
Disclosure: I received these spoons as a barter trade for a giveaway that’s now closed, but no money (or spoons) changed hands in return for this review post. My opinions are 100% my own. See my full disclosure statement here.