Maple syrup is the gold standard of agriculture and conservation coexisting. It is made by tapping trees in a natural forest and gathering the sap in the spring when the weather warms during the day and drops below freezing at night. Aside from fishing, it is one of the last agricultural industries in which the crop is harvested in the wild. Because maple is a profitable industry, land owners have incentive to leave their forest undeveloped. The taps do not hurt the trees; many maple operations have been in production for over a hundred years. Meanwhile, the forest and all of its inhabitants are left alone to thrive in an ecosystem with minimal disturbance save for a six week period in late winter.
Here at Runamok Maple, we adhere to the rules of organic production and ensure we mitigate for soil erosion, tap only large trees, encourage biodiversity in the forest and use only an organic defoamer in our boiling process. All of the ingredients in our infused maple syrups, such as the Cinnamon+Vanilla, are organically grown. Even with the barrel-aged syrups we attempt to reduce, reuse and recycle. Our barrel-aged is made by putting our maple syrup into recently emptied bourbon, rum or rye whiskey barrels and letting them age for nine months. Not only do we make use of used barrels, when we are done with them, we pass them along to distillers and brewers who are delighted to have them for brewing and barrel-aging their own products. If we can’t find any brewers to take them, we send them to a furniture maker in Maine who turns them into tables and sculptures.
My husband and I are the founders of Runamok Maple and we both have a background in environmental stewardship. We take the impact of our operation on our land into every decision we make. We have created an excellent product that has received accolades from the New York Times, Martha Stewart, Saveur and many other periodicals. Our first year out we were selected as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for her Christmas 2016 issue. As excited as we are about our product, we are equally proud that our property is plentiful of wild turkeys and bear. We have mink, beavers and otters that frequent the pond and sitings of bobcat up in the mountain. We have created a thriving habitat for North American wildlife and we intend to continue to preserve this land both for them and for our business.