Furniture saves Brampton area’s agricultural heritage | Toronto Star

Dennis Hale and Mike Sharpe show off a plank of apple wood they milled and some of the logs in their workshop. Storyboard Furniture is salvaging wood from an orchard in Huttonville before it is bulldozed to make way for a housing subdivision.

Dennis Hale and Mike Sharpe show off a plank of apple wood they milled and some of the logs in their workshop. Storyboard Furniture is salvaging wood from an orchard in Huttonville before it is bulldozed to make way for a housing subdivision.

Nick Potovszky, whose great-grandfather, Nazzareno Ferri, planted those apple trees in the 1930s, didn’t grow up on the farm, but feels a great attachment to it as a family hub. Potovszky got talking to a couple of friends and said it was a shame that all those seasons spent pruning and harvesting the beautiful trees would be lost when they are chopped up for firewood.

Mike Sharpe and Dennis Hale had just started Storyboard Furniture, a business that specializes in working with trees that carry significance for people and the Ferri farm project was a perfect fit.

They recruited several other artisans to salvage the wood from more than 400 apple trees on land owned by Potovszky’s uncle, Nick Ferri, and turn it into unique implements and pieces of furniture. It’s a way to not only recycle the wood, but connect people in the growing city with the agricultural heritage of Heritage Rd.

“It’s not just any wood,” Potovszky said. Many of the trees in the Ferri orchards were planted in the old style that allowed the trees enough space to grow big and thick. Newer intensive farming methods put far more small trees closer together to expose the apples to the sun and make them easier to harvest.

“In the future, there simply won’t be any big apple wood like this anymore,” said Sharpe. He’s hoping people will connect with the unique benches and bowls, spoons and cutting boards they’re making as art, but also as pieces of Toronto’s heritage.

“It gives us a really great platform to tell the story of the Ferris and the orchards and this region in transition,” said Hale. “Before we were more about individuals: your tree is now your table. Now, with this project, there is a bigger story to tell.”

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