Rustic Roasters offers a taste of mountain life
September 20, 2013
Steve Wymer carried a small pack of kindling wrapped with rope and stuffed it into a cardboard box along with scented pinecones and a small burlap bag. He topped it all off with a small piece of wood with a logo reading Rustic Roasters burned into it.
"This is a new gift set that I’m getting ready for Christmas," Wymer said. "I just shipped a ton of them out, so I’m actually making a new one here."
Wymer is the founder and owner of Rustic Roasters, a small company that makes custom roasters, coasters and wall hangers out of authentic Park City resources.
The roasters have handles that are made from local aspens or firs and elk or deer antlers. They can be used for roasting marshmallows for s’mores out by the campfire, something Wymer enjoys doing with his two children: son Michael, 7, and daughter Mason, 11.
Wymer is originally from West Virginia, and after living in Florida for about 20 years, he decided he wanted to get back to his roots and live in a mountain area again. He moved to Park City with his family four years ago, and a little over a year ago had a "moment of clarity" while roasting s’mores with his family in his outdoor fireplace.
"I thought, ‘why am I using these cheap products out in this beautiful place?’" Wymer said. "There just had to be something more appropriate and in touch with the area."
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He decided that he wanted to create high-quality products with things found directly in Park City. To Wymer’s surprise, his idea was novel, and he hit the ground running.
He finds his supplies hiking in the mountains throughout Park City or in the Uinta Mountains, and he especially enjoys gathering driftwood due to the "beautiful color" the water brings out in the wood.
"I think nature gives a ton of resources," said Wymer. "I go out and basically I and whoever I have with me procure every single thing that you see here."
Large pieces of timber, antlers and small pieces of wood that have been drying out for at least three months fill his workshop at home where he is working out of for now.
Wymer is a self-proclaimed "animal lover," so the antlers he uses in his products are natural sheds that he expects more of now that "the rut" is coming soon.
"Come October, the elk and deer start looking for all the ladies," Wymer said. "During that time, they get really aggressive and start to butt heads like you see on TV, which causes a lot of antler sheds."
The roaster handles rest against the wall of the workshop, the gleaming white elk antlers, the smaller, more delicate deer antlers, and the sanded and glossed pieces of wood equipped with leather rope to hang them up.
Each roaster comes with a custom note card saying exactly what it is made out of and where Wymer found it. He lifted a roaster with a large white antler handle. The note card attached read that it was made from an elk antler that he found while hiking in the Uintahs.
"I just think it’s nice to let people know that what they’re getting and where they’re getting it from," Wymer said.
Next to the roasters are the "timber coasters," made from aspen and fir trees with illustrations of native Utah wildlife burned into them and a glossy finish. Wymer wraps up packs of four with rope and decorative pinecones.
He also makes "color fire pinecones" that when thrown into a fire makes the fire turn different colors like blue or yellow, among others, and Christmas tree ornaments, which are similar to the timber coasters.
"They all come in a pretty, nice package that people get delivered," Wymer said. "It’s definitely unique and a little slice of Park City shipped anywhere in North America."
Once Wymer gathers the wood, cuts it up, sands it down and lets it dry for several months, the process of actually making the roaster or coasters is about seven to 10 days, he said. The same goes for the antlers he finds.
The process is a long one, but Wymer makes sure to schedule and prepare properly for bulk orders. With the holiday season approaching, Wymer has made sure to do things slowly but efficiently.
His goal, to create a "complete backyard fire experience," is one he keeps close to his heart and hopes to deliver to those who purchase his products online.
"At the end of the day, it truly is a Rocky Mountain hand-crafted experience," Wymer said, "From start to finish, it’s us hand-forging, and we are proud of our product."