Friday, April 23, 2010

Maple Syrup: Not just for pancakes anymore

Maple syrup goes hand-in-hand with pancakes, but with a little creativity, this natural sweetener can be used in all sorts of dishes.

"My favorite use is in glazing meats and root veggies," says Steve Gabriel, of Sapsquatch, an Enfield maple syrup producer. "I definitely think people could and should branch out and see maple as more than something for pancakes. It has complex flavors unique to each tree and sugarbush. So our syrup tastes unique from any other place on earth because of the unique combination of soil, bedrock, weather, other plants, and so on."

Sapsquatch promotes harvesting resources with positive impacts to health and environment. Gabriel and maple partner Josh Dolan, operate just 500 taps, offer a variety of maple products, and provide educational opportunities for schools and individuals. In anticipation of this year's harvest, Sapsquatch is currently accepting pre-orders for syrup, in quantities from 1/2 a pint to a gallon. Like a CSA, purhcasing in advance helps fund upfront seasonal costs. Orders placed now will be available in March.

"Our goal is to celebrate and share this timeless tradition with the community, so that people are more connected to the local landscape, the seasons, and traditional, small scale agriculture systems," says Gabriel. Sapsquatch syrup is unique because buyers can tour and taste the syrup onsite in Enfield, they use traditional practices like boiling with wood fires and harvesting with gravity, and the operation is part of a larger effort to incorporate maple production (syrup, candy, cream) with other forest edilbes like wild leek and mushrooms. Sapsquatch also offers school programs, alternative spring breaks for college students, and other educational opportunities.

Sasquatch is offering many upcoming events and programs, including:
-Tours every Saturday at 1pm from Feb 27 until April 3, 2010.
-Sugar Moon Party on February 27 from 11am until ?
-NYS Maple Weekend March 20 and 21 from 10am until 5pm.

Alternative recipe ideas for maple syrup (from

Bacon-Wrapped Maple Pork Loin

Chicken with Black-Pepper Maple Sauce

Maple Horseradish Glazed Beets

Or, if you're adventurous, try substituting maple syrup for a portion of other sweeteners in any recipe (sugar, honey, molasses, etc).

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