Welcome to Runamok Maple
Runamok Maple is located in northern Vermont, along the western slopes of Mount Mansfield. Spanning 1,100 acres in Cambridge and 250 acres in Fairfield, our crew taps 81,000 trees to bring you one of Mother Nature’s most exquisite pleasures: pure maple syrup.
Throughout the sugaring season, the flavor of the syrup varies due to temperature, moisture and acts of nature that remain a mystery even to the experts. As it changes, we constantly taste it until we hit the absolute peak of flavor. Since this is the syrup we bottle for ourselves, we call it The Sugarmaker’s Cut.
Along with our pure maple syrup, we have created a collection of infused, smoked and barrel-aged maple syrups. Maple marries exceptionally well with a variety of flavors. Some of them are tried and true like cinnamon and vanilla and some are unexpectedly out of this world, like our original Makrut lime-leaf.
We are constantly working on new recipes to highlight the unique flavors in our syrups, and have gathered them here, on our website, for you to try. We hope you will explore it for ideas as well as information about our operation.
Eric and Laura Sorkin
MEET OUR TEAM
Eric is co-owner and operator of Runamok. He cut his teeth in the maple business working for a nearby sugarbush and visiting with other sugarmakers to ask them what works and doesn’t work in their business. Since then he has built his maple operation from the ground up, installing tubing in the woods, constructing the sugar house and setting up all of the equipment.
Eric has a whole lot of schooling under his belt the last of which is a law degree from Columbia University and Master’s of Environmental Management from Duke University. Though he sometimes ponders how he ended up in the deep woods of Vermont, when questioned directly, he responds, “You can’t argue with the commute.”
Favorite part of the maple season: “We work all year long in anticipation of the roughly 20 good ‘sugaring’ days that come in the spring. Out of those few days, there are usually two or three sap runs that result in the most exquisite syrup of the season. Kind of like choosing the peak of fall foliage, the exact high point is up to debate. Regardless, those few choice days are the pinnacle of the season for me.”
Favorite maple recipe: “Maple pudding. No question.”
Most treasured piece of sugaring equipment: “My tasting cup.”
Laura is co-owner of Runamok. She originally moved to Vermont to start an organic vegetable farm. Two kids and many harvests later, she decided to dial back the farming and focus more on her children. She now divides her time between the children, a few commercial crops, Runamok Maple and her career writing about food and farming. Laura pitches in to the maple operation whenever possible and has earned the nickname ‘Gravy’, meaning anything she contributes is extra. Not the least bit insulted, she insists, “Who doesn’t like gravy?”
Laura has a BA from McGill University and a Masters of Environmental Management from Duke. She also has a degree from the French Culinary Institute in New York City with some time put in as a galley slave at some four-star restaurants.
Favorite part of the maple season: “My mom hand-painted some sap buckets for us. Every year, at the beginning of the season, Eric and the kids and I go out and tap some trees and hang them up for good luck. It is a time when we are all really excited for the coming season.”
Most treasured piece of sugaring equipment: “Hand warmers are essential on a cold day. Also, it’s comforting to know the walkie talkie is there. I have been known to get a little turned around in the woods.”
Dean spent his first twenty years of life raised on his family’s dairy farm in nearby Franklin County, and descends from 5 generations of dairy farmers. Farming and sugaring are in his blood and his experience and knowledge are the proof. Dean runs the day to day operations of the sugarbush, directing the crew and keeping the sugarhouse humming along. Though “tolerating flatlanders” was not in the original job description, he can now add it front and center to his resume.
Favorite part of the maple season: “The first BIG run. And the last run.”
Favorite maple recipe: “Syrup and Biscuits. It’s so easy to make and tastes great!”
Most treasured piece of sugaring equipment: “My wool coat. Or my wool vest. My wool outerwear.”
THE RUNAMOK CREW
The Runamok crew are some of the hardest working people you will ever meet. Ranging in age from 18 to 55, they are a group of self-described hunters, farmers, hippies and hipsters. The one thing they all have in common is dedication and a true work ethic.
Conditions in the sugarbush can be brutal. We start at dawn when temperatures are often in single digits. Deep snow, ice and sometimes incessant rain can make progress very slow. For the sugarhouse crew the hours are long; the schedule is set by Mother Nature and she often sets the sap running for days.
Every year we face challenges of storms and broken equipment but the Runamok crew gets the job done, and does so better than any other bunch of folks out there.