Maple syrup has been a fascination of mine for years now. Maybe it was when I had my first honey harvest, but something a few years back really clicked with me about the magic of all natural sweeteners. Like honey, maple syrup is a season food, but unlike honey, maple syrup can only be produced in one part of the world. A part of the world where I come from!
My home state of Michigan has seen for the majority of my life, a downturn in it's economy due to the decline of the auto industry. When detroit gets a cold, the entire state gets the flu! I left my home state after college because there just weren't the opportunities for young people that other areas offered, which is how I found myself in the Pacific Northwest. Once here, I unexpectedly found myself working in the farming and agricultural sector and that gave me pause to think about farming and foods from Michigan. Michigan sits smack dab in the center of very prime maple syrup producing region. The more I looked into it, it seemed maple syrup is indeed and "untapped resource" (pun intended!), with only 3% of its trees being tapped as of a few years ago. With enough trees tapped, Michigan could be poised to out-produce vermont! It has to do with freezing nights and thawing days, and it's what makes springtime in northern michigan so awesome!Additionally, my dad and his wife Andy have been trying to find a way to help me and my business, and a way to stay busy as they begin to retire. For awhile we talked about having them become our taper candle makers, or maybe our Beeodorant makers, or maybe some other value added product but it was just too hard and too expensive to consider shipping raw goods to them and then shipping finished product back to me. Then it dawned on me that I don't have to wait till I'm retired to move back home and make maple syrup, I'll just have my retired dad and Andy start making it right now!!!
So I made an investment in supplies to tap trees and dad got to work! The sap was flowing this spring, buckets and buckets full from the end of february until the end of march! Dad and andy had all the grandkids helping them, and from our family property there was enough sap to begin our first year of syrup production!40 parts tree sap make 1 part syrup, and these two were busy. Our family lives very close to one of the largest and only certified organic maple syrup production facilities in the state, and we were able to have them co-produce and co-pack our syrup for us. Unlike our raw honey, every jar of our maple syrup is hand filled at 180 degrees for sterilization. You need to wear gloves after awhile cuz that is hot!!!A bit of backstory: Dad and Andy developed a well known and very well loved series of children books about a fictional character named Buck Wilder and his adventures in the outdoors. Buck Wilder makes fishing, camping, boating, and animals fun for all ages while sending a positive message to not be afraid of trying something new! It was decided that Buck likely eats maple syrup everyday with rascal raccoon and all his other forest friends, so this is Buck's syrup!!Besides hand bottling each and every jar, Tim and Andy have painstakingly handwritten each and every label, numbering the lots and jars and initialing each one. The result is the most charming and hand made and heartfelt product I have ever seen. I am so proud of my dad and Andy, and I am so proud to have this amazing food in my store and online. I have no doubt you will love it too!!