Apr 30

How Sweet It Is!

Liquid Gold – that’s what we call it. Maple syrup is our sweetener of choice and just recently I stopped by the sugar shack of my favorite producer, Eastman Long, to replenish my supply. My timing couldn’t have been more perfect as Eastman was breaking just long enough to show me around and explain how my beloved maple syrup gets from tree to table. This is one product I know is clean – I know the producer, I know the product, it’s minimally processed and its definitely delicious.

This is the sugar shack of Eastman Long. Each winter, he and a crew of 4 others (mostly family) trek through the woods on snowshoes wearing equipment belts almost as heavy as my gallon jug of syrup. Together they tap 11,000 trees. That’s right, 11,000 trees!!! The sap runs through lines into this house where it is purified and heated just hot enough (below boiling) to separate out the water, which is about 97%.

Sugar shack

Eastman Long

The season is a short one and just the right conditions are required for the sap to flow, but the work is year-round making sure the lines are clean, the machinery tuned up and ready to go the instant the sap starts running, and that the whole system works to perfection. All it takes is one glitch – perhaps a frozen line or a broken motor – to dramatically reduce the year’s production. This is a labor of love if ever I’ve seen one.

The final touch

For me, it’s not a question of organic vs. locally grown, but rather a desire to put a face on my food – to know where it comes from, how it was grown and produced and what exactly I’m getting – so that I  can make a healthy choice. I have Eastman Long to thank for adding delicious and nutritious sweetness to my clean food creations.

Eat clean live well!


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