Many people ask me why the ash tree?
In all honesty there isn’t just one reason, there are several.
I have always been captivated by the ash tree after I learnt about it growing up in Iceland. Even before starting school, we are taught that the Ash tree is the tree of life in Norse Mythology. The home to the Viking gods, Viking Norns, the people and everything in-between!
Also, when growing up in a place like Iceland, people are brought up respecting the few fragile trees around.
I grew up in a harsh environment and climbing trees no matter what country I as in was my safe space. My imaginary haven!
As I grew older, I was more inclined to read or write sitting by a tree trunk or meet up with friends and enjoy a lifelong Icelandic tradition. Listen to hundreds of good stories sat by a campfire, singing songs, respecting the land and telling tales of the Vikings and their life tree.
It was inevitable I would continue to respect this magnificent tree.
This is where my research led me to discover that the Ash tree was all edible with incredible medicinal benefits such as being a natural anti-inflammatory source.
Always acquiring more knowledge about trees I started working more and more with them. As a chef with specialty in using foraged items, I soon discovered that alongside the Birch, the Beech and many other species of trees, that the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, the French and even the Middle East used trees for medicinal purposes as well as picking their fruits and nuts.
It was when I was doing my research, I found out that the Ash tree is under severe threat from ash dieback. A fungus, with a symbiotic relationship with the ash tree, yet one that feeds the fungi at the expense of killing the ash tree.
I knew I had to do something when further I discovered all of Estonia’s ash tree’s have been wiped out.
The UK has over 200million ash trees with it being one of the largest of all the tree population within the UK. It would be devastating to wild animals and history if England had to fell all the ash trees.
Hence here we are now: Öskuhús was born.
Incorporating Ash in all we do, with proceeds going to research on how we maintain the trees we already have and to planting new trees.
And of course, producing ash-tastic products!