Pepperwood (Umbellularia californica) is a hardwood tree native to California and southwestern Oregon with many uses. Makers of bowls, cabinets, furniture, guitars, ukuleles, and hardwood flooring and paneling prize its beautiful wood, which is frequently marketed as rare myrtlewood or Oregon myrtle. The leaves, often called California bay or bay laurel leaves, offer medicinal properties and culinary uses. Roasted bay nuts made from its seeds taste like a blend of cacao nibs and dark roast coffee. Culturally important trees like the pepperwood play critical roles, particularly in Indigenous Peoples’ cultural identities and survival. However, despite its utility to people, this avocado relative remains commercially underutilized. This chapter examines past attempts to capitalize on pepperwood leaves and why those attempts have failed or been marginally successful. It also considers contemporary Indigenous efforts to sustainably and respectfully commercialize bay nuts. Using a transdisciplinary approach, evidence is drawn from unpublished notes, images, journal articles, and secondary sources that often fit neatly into one of the following categories: anthropology, botany, forestry, history of science, medicinal botany, phytochemistry, political economy, or Western history. By tracing the earliest attempts to classify pepperwood by colonial botanists to today’s Indigenous tribes attempting to commercialize its nuts, we gain a fuller understanding of competing notions about the purpose of economic development and the need for food justice. Indigenous stewardship motivated by a commitment to continued traditional practices could play a significant role in pepperwood conservation in the future.