Seeing the Forest for the Trees – Proteak

The latest thing in countertops is also the oldest thing…  Wood.

Whether it’s due to a backlash against the cold, shiny surface of the ubiquitous granite countertop, or a desire for something with an old-fashioned, great-grandma’s kitchen feel, wood is really seeing a comeback as a countertop surface.

One beautiful option to achieve this look is teak.  Because of it’s density, durability and natural oil content, teak has long been the wood of choice for boats, buildings and outdoor furniture, all of which get a great deal of exposure to the elements.  It’s those same characteristics that are giving it a foothold in the modern kitchen.

Many, many years ago, teak was almost entirely harvested from old growth forests.  Nowadays, the majority of teak is grown on plantations, which is seen as a more commercially viable and environmentally preferable source.  However, not all plantation grown teak is truly eco-friendly, and it can, in some cases, cause damage to surrounding forest.

Down on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, one company has found a way to grow teak AND save the forest.  Over the last six years, Proteak has planted over 8,000 acres of reclaimed ranch land with fast growing teak, all while saving 2,000 acres of adjacent rainforest.  Overall, they estimate that every day the plantation captures the carbon emissions equivalent of 20,000 cars.  Best of all, their teak is FSC certified, which means they have met rigorous standards of forest management.

The end results are lovely to look at, like their end grain kitchen countertop above.

For those not looking to replace their entire countertop, Proteak also makes cutting boards and butcher block carts.

Do you have a wood countertop in your kitchen?  Is it teak, or some other wood?  What do you think are the pros and cons?  Please let us know in the comments below.

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