Here in the woods our nightly ritual during the winter months is to light a fire, keep it going throughout the evening, and let the embers die as we go to bed. Usually, I layer the fire grate with scrunched up brown paper grocery bags or pages from the weekly newspaper circular, nestle in a few pieces of fat wood, top that with kindling and then add the logs.
But a few days ago, our daughter Rebecca made the fire lighting easier and greener with a gift of natural Stokes Fire Starters, which have no harmful chemicals and are safe to touch without gloves.
The fireplace starters come in sets of four, 12 to a $6.99 box (plus shipping). They resemble fallen bran muffins baked in a third of an egg carton. It’s necessary to pull the pieces apart, since only one is needed to start a fire. It’s easy to do and and they fit back in the attractive, recyclable box. The box also contains warnings that this highly flammable product requires adult supervision.
But the fire starters have quite a back story.
On the market for barely a year, they were invented by a Massachusetts high school student, Adam Liszewski (above, with his golden retriever Buck), as a chemical-free way to light his family’s wood stove using egg cartons, lint from the family dryer, and candle wax. Lint gave way to sawdust from a Vermont saw mill, an assembly line was set up in the family basement and the brand was snapped up by Whole Foods and other retailers just last year.
The Stokes Fire Starters leave no residue or chemical smell. I place one on a piece of kindling, with more around it, add logs and light it up. The torn corners catch easily.
The box is attractive enough to be left out on the bookcase. I’m able to dispense with the newspapers and the fat wood since one ”egg-nighter” burns long and strong enough for the logs to ignite easily. They can be ordered directly from Stokes. Here is a link to the website.
For now, I have month’s supply thanks to Becca. I appreciate the thoughtful New Year’s gift and the introduction to a new and useful product that I can use with peace of mind.
(Source: Photo of Adam Liszewski courtesy of Dennis Stein)
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