PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -
We are blessed to live in an area that has a ton of beautiful resorts. During our cool weather months, a lot of the resorts are making their guests cozy by warming the fire pits.
Have you ever noticed the amazing smell coming out of those fire pits? Well, I did some research and found out the wood they are burning is "alligator juniper."
Alligator juniper grows right here in Arizona, up in the high country. The wood has an amazing cedar-like fragrance that you can smell burning or not. Alligator juniper gets its smell from the berries the tree produces year around. These berries are a popular snack for deer, bears and birds hanging out in the forest. The berries are also used at many local restaurants to complement the main course or mixed in salads.
Alligator juniper gets its name from the grey checkerboard bark and a trunk that looks like alligator skin.
If you are looking for it in the mountains of Arizona, you can find alligator juniper at elevations of 4,000 to 8,000 feet and they grow between 40 and 60 feet.
It is the top selling wood in the Valley and there are many places where you can find it locally.
I have a place in north Phoenix that I love to visit each year. I like it because don’t have to buy a whole cord of wood from them. I only have room for a quarter cord at my house and you can get that for about $55. It's called Kevin and Cindy's Woodlot, located at 12th Street and Greenway Parkway.
We have our fire pit burning about seven or eight times during the winter and this is the perfect amount of wood to get and it fits right in the back of my SUV.
I am sure a lot of fire pits are going to get used this season. Make sure you keep up to date with current burn status with our AZFamily app. When weather conditions occur that trap smoke at the surface, Maricopa County will issue a High Pollution Advisory and call for a No Burn Day.
Enjoy that fire pit this season and try alligator juniper, you will love it. Oh and don’t forget the marshmallows!