When we first set out to do this, I had one objective: find the best ingredients possible. Never settle and when I thought I would bet settling, I would stop and start a new recipe.
Lets just say I found myself in this situation more than once. I would come up with a really interesting combo, but I couldn’st find exactly what I wanted. For instance, I tested sage from every country it was grown in, and It still didn’st meet my annoyingly high standards. Coulter wanted to kill me: It is too bland, I don’st like the color, I don’st like the texture, I just don’st have a good feeling….a lot of flavors ended this way.
I also wanted to find the best suppliers possible. I admit that I was a bit idealistic in thinking that I could do this. That I could connect a single farmer to the exact ingredient that we would be using. In today’ss world, it is pretty tough to do, but you can come close, all you have to do is research the crap out of your ingredient, where it is grown etc, and then call every supplier, farmer, grower in the area until someone is willing to talk to you. When Stuart answered the phone on my maple mission and was eager to talk, I was so excited it was almost impossible for me to keep my cool.
We hit it off when I started asking him endless questions about his product- What makes maple organic? What is the difference between non- organic and organic? How can you get away with doing two of these things on one property? What are your trees sprayed with? Wow are they tapped? (will speak about all of this in a following post) The list goes on and on, but after I hung up the phone, I announced to Coulter that I had just found our maple guy.
Stuart knows the history of this family farm, he personally knows the owners, their children, and knows every single thing about maple. The cool part is that the company started out in 1973, but the land was purchased by the owners father, who held a PhD., and dedicated his research to the understanding of sap flow and how to make maple collection through the use of tubbing and vacuum systems work. (again, I will dig into the details of maple production in a later post.) They started off collecting sap on their 600 acre farm in VT which has expanded to 1,000 acres over the past decades. They also now pull maple from surrounding areas because they can’st keep up with the demand. They pull maple from farms in New York, Maine and Canada, but our maple will come directly from VT.
So, my high expectations paid off in the end. The long search for the best maple has ended. I feel good about our maple source, and feel good about the purity of this ingredient. Plus, Stuart is the one who steered me away from using maple powder and instead going with a maple sugar. The sugar granules are a bit larger than the powder, but the sugar has this slightly burnt, caramel butter flavor. It’ss so good that I put it in everything; my cereal, my carrot ginger soup, my chicken stew, my coffee… you get the point, it’ss that good.
In fact it’ss so good that it’ss one of our three flavors!