Meet Corrie St. Saviour, a Maine Maple Syrup Farmer (Who Never Eats Pancakes)

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NameCorrie St. Saviour
Location: Brownfield, Maine
How many individuals eat collectively in your house? 3 (myself; my husband, Nate; and our 2-year-old daughter)
Avoidances: Corrie has a gluten intolerance

If you ever questioned what life can be like in the event you moved to Maine and have become a maple syrup farmer who makes use of syrup as forex, Corrie St. Saviour will set the scene for you. She and her husband, Nate, are the co-founders of Sap Hound Maple Company, which has been in operation in Brownfield, Maine, for a decade. “We feel blessed we live in a state we can afford to be farmers in. There’s a nice community of other young farmers in Maine who we trade with. We try not to trade money, just syrup,” says Corrie.

Of course it’s not all sugar and spice and all the things good — Corrie would be the first to say that sugaring is tough work! We caught up with Corrie to speak about tree-tapping season, what a day within the life on the sugar home is like, and all of the methods her household enjoys maple syrup. (Fun reality: It’s not on pancakes.)

How did you find yourself proudly owning a Sugar Maple farm in Maine?
I grew up in Vermont, the place I met my husband at school. He’s a lifelong Mainer, so we moved again right here. I grew up sugaring after I was actually little, and had actually nice reminiscences. As an grownup, I all the time needed to do it. A pal gave my husband the e book Backyard Sugarin’ by Rink Mann, and he type of bought it in his thoughts that this could be straightforward to do.

What did it take to actually begin out?
We’re actually lucky that a shut household pal of Nate’s father did some sugaring. His household gave us a bunch of kit that nobody needed. We grabbed our buckets and outdated traces from them, and make-shifted one thing out within the woods, boiling the sugar on a campfire.

We had a little plot of land and Nate’s household owned the adjoining land. We assumed we’d by no means do that for a enterprise as a result of it’s manner an excessive amount of work (and we’d by no means make any cash). But in the future we simply determined to depend the bushes on the property and thought there have been sufficient to make it occur. We talked to his household and got here up with a plan to purchase them out. It was by no means a query after that.

Is it as idyllic because it sounds?
Working within the woods is actually great. It was very a lot a pure segue for the each of us. For the ten years earlier than we owned this enterprise, my job was working within the woods finding out bushes. Nate had taught himself the right way to be a plumber, carpenter, and electrician. He can repair something, which is what any sort of farming requires. Sugaring is actually plumbing-intensive, you want all the things working within the freeze/thaw. We simply lucked out.

It does sound like a lot of labor. Can you describe a typical day within the sugar shack?
We begin tapping the bushes in early January. We spend the early days getting our tubing system up and functioning and we search for leaks. Every bear and squirrel desires to chew holes within the system, branches fall, freeze valves will trigger fittings to interrupt — issues like that. We’re continuously fixing gear, cleansing tanks, and gathering sap. We course of the sap with reverse osmosis — it’s basically a massive filter. We maintain the concentrated candy water, save the contemporary water for cleansing, then run the focus by way of the evaporator and boil it. You attempt to boil no matter you collected throughout the day at evening. It’s actually neat to work with the land and make this scrumptious syrup.

Do you set syrup on all the things? Are you a massive pancakes and waffles household?
It’s humorous, I don’t eat gluten or dairy. We don’t ever have pancakes! [Laughs.] For breakfast, I often have Grandy Oats, a great native firm who we commerce a little bit of syrup with for his or her goodies. I like their Coconola. We put blueberries and maple syrup on their oats and granola within the mornings. They even have some superior cups of oatmeal that I prefer to have at our different sugar home after we’re actually busy.

Breakfast-wise, my husband goes by way of so many luggage of espresso. He loves Maine Morning Micro Roasters; we get it actually contemporary from my pal Nancy. I prefer to make my very own nut milks, and I put a little bit of our maple syrup in that. We attempt to eat very wholesome and are lucky to have entry to actually good meals. Our different neighbor is a blueberry farmer, Burnt Meadow Nursery, and so they have superb low-bush blueberries (we commerce syrup for berries). When we wish a deal with, I take frozen blueberries out of the freezer, pour darkish maple syrup on high, and blend it round. It’s type of like contemporary fruit sorbet.

Okay, wow. What’s a typical lunch?
I’m working round daily making an attempt to show our toddler to new stuff and ensure she’s consuming. Loads of occasions we commerce syrup for entire chickens from Patch Farm; we do a lot of buying and selling with them. I throw the entire rooster into the Instant Pot and pull the meat off. I’ll put some applesauce on the aspect, tomatoes, avocados, carrots, pickles.

I used to be simply talking with my sister and we have been speaking about feeding toddlers, and the way they like ketchup on all the things. And weirdly, home made ketchup is one other actually wonderful means to make use of maple syrup (as an alternative of corn syrup). We make a number of drinks, marinades, sauces, salad dressing, and many others., and do all of our baking with it. We make maple sugar too, and love utilizing that. It’s fairly infinite. I feel we use it much more for seasoning and taste than for simply sweetening issues.

Where do you get most of your orders from?
We have a web site and do online orders, however that’s not a massive a part of our enterprise. We work with native eating places, bakeries, and different meals producers in Maine.

We just lately partnered with this brewing firm in Maine, Nonesuch Brewing Company. They began utilizing our syrup within the kitchen after which determined to make some beer with it — they’re releasing a particular Maple Cream Ale the second week of March that we’re enthusiastic about.

One of our largest clients is The Flatbread Company in Portland, ME, and North Conway, NH. They attempt to purchase as a lot as attainable from native farms and are superb. They make maple lemonade, which is without doubt one of the finest issues to do with maple in the summertime. They use the syrup to caramelize onions for pizza and make whipped cream.

One of our staff, Hannah Demers, owns Maine Maple Creemee Co, a meals truck. She makes maple soft-serve ice cream with our syrup.

Tell me extra about this bartering system — so that you hardly use cash in any respect?
We commerce our syrup for all the things — pc work, blueberries, granola, nuts, meat, eggs, gear — all the things. It’s actually good. Everyone has totally different techniques, however for essentially the most half persons are tremendous truthful. If something, folks are likely to over-give.

Do you ever must go to a grocery retailer?
We go to a native well being meals retailer within the neighboring city — and we commerce with them! They promote our syrups and we maintain a tab there. We have a CSA in the summertime, a espresso membership, and Nate’s brother occurs to be a fisheries biologist, so he hooks us up with salmon and halibut in the summertime. When the pandemic got here, I truly wanted to go to the shop extra. The native farms close to us began to promote out of their inventories, as a result of folks have been panicking. The space has undoubtedly observed an elevated curiosity in getting meals from nearer to residence. We have this drawback in our nation with folks not eager to pay cash for good-quality meals. The latest curiosity in shopping for native is superb for the farms; I hope it’s the type of factor that sticks.

Thank you for sharing, Corrie! Follow Sap Hound Maple Company on Instagram.

The Way We Eat is a collection of profiles and conversations with folks such as you, about how they feed themselves and their households. We’re actively on the lookout for folks to function on this collection. You don’t should be well-known and even a good cook dinner! We’re thinking about folks of all backgrounds and consuming habits. If you’d prefer to share your personal story with us, or if you understand of somebody you assume can be nice for this collection, start here with this form.

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