http://www.cbc.ca/news/birch-syrup-1.3002204 CBC Radio
*Reminder* Prices are in Canadian Dollars. Todays exchange rate 04/06/2015 $1.00CDN = $0.80USD
Some interesting figures from across the market:
125ml of product at an average cost of nearly $20.00 in its pure form.
$250ml of product at an average cost of over 30.00 before shipping and as much as $40.00 before shipping
1litre in a Quebec fine foods market at $119.30 before shipping
100ml at over $25.00 before shipping in Manitoba.
Take advantage of this great offer on rewards. You're going to love it! Thank you all for your support.
Nestled in the rolling hills of the beautiful Northern Appalachians, wherein the bountiful forests of the Restigouche region thrive, we find the ecologically diverse forest stands of Point La Nim, and therein, the MacCurdy Estate. Settled by my ancestors in the early 1800's, the MacCurdys have long been stewards of the 150 acre plot, and the only remaining practicing farming family in the community. At the turn of the century my father, Jimmy, after having had suffering from the blow of the beef crisis, the loss of his father, and an ongoing battle with cancer remained stubbornly fixed on his cattle herd and the sustainable management of our forest and forage stands. Today, the estate remains a production farm of beef, and in recent years, more and more diversified in our approach to success and the continuation of the family farm. That's where my brother, Justin, and I come in and are stepping up to the plate. Each in our own functional ambitions we are hoping to create and maintain viable, profitable additions to the overall function of the estate, in a sustainable manner, over the extent of the 4 seasons.
An ambition of my own, and in respected association to my own business venture, Nature's Estate Farm, I am hoping to continue with a second year production of a culinary jewel, and ever growing market, Birch Syrup. With the valued support and aid of a close friend, the decision was made in the spring of 2014, "lets tap some birch!", and tap them we did. Arming ourselves with a modest 50 taps, we set out in our snow shoes with our food grade hose and lidded pails into the woodlot and the experience began. Having had set our expections based on the experience of those in the Quebec, Ontario, BC, and Scandanavian regions we were eager for the taps to flow, and flow they did!
All in all, we had a very successful season that ran heavily for nearly a month, and more sap collected daily than could be cooked in a day under our makeshift propane burners and large pots combination of evaporation and finishing. Sales, direct to consumer, were wonderful at a price of $15.00/250ml or 2/250ml for $25.00 and overall, a few dozen cases of brix count calobrated, quality finished birch syrup went out to eager first time consumers, the last litre of which is about to find its way into a local craft beer brewers seasonal brew, birch syrup and chaga mushroom. One can hardly wait!
The funding that is hoped for is to cover a few essential elements to success while increasing efficiency, volume of product, and the availability of both sap and syrup to consumer. The primary and most sought after element that is essential is the purchase of a wood fired evaporator that is adequate for the cooking of 1000+ litres of sap weekly as we are hoping to increase upon the number of taps to 400-500.
Additional funding will be used to cover packaging/labelling expenses as well as other associated costs of start up including marketing/advertising costs.
Please have a look online at the growth of the birch industry, in particular that of the syrup and sap production and the sustainable potential therein.
In comparison to maple syrup, which contains sucrose, birch syrup is also found to contain fructose and glucose as well as sucrose in its make up. This helps make for a more robust flavor which adds a wonderful profile of flavor. When comparing sap:syrup ratio, there is a notable difference between birch and maple. In maple syrup production you will find higher sugar concentration and subsequently in the area of 40:1 ratio, while with birch we are looking at a 100:1 or more ratio making small batch cooking a struggle and is a large part of the reason why a larger evaporator is necessary. Here is a link to an assortment of delicious recipe ideas: http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=birch+syrup+recipes
Sustainable management is both vital and attainable within this ecologically diverse habitat. Both white and yellow birch are adequate in population to sustain under responsible management practices in our tapping endeavors. It is important to consider that birch syrup is an unregulated industry. I am confident that with any success that others may follow in their own operations and progress will be had in the agroforestry sector.
I'd also like to note that all of us from the MacCurdy Farm encourage and support the education of consumers in all respected methods of production and are happy to answer any questions anyone may have. Living in harmony with nature is an everlearning experience and I am adamant on establishing and maintaining sustainable and feasible ideas within nature's estate. You may contact me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to answer any questions.
Risks and challenges
With the successful funding of the project and the issue of cooking in volume set aside, the main challenges will be setting up a new sugar shack, labeling, bottling, and sales/distribution. Excess funding will go towards further establishment and growth of the project. I am prepared to meet these challenges, especially the latter, as we at MacCurdy Farm are year round farm product salesman at our local Restigouche Farmers' Market in Dalhousie, NB, where samples and sales are expected to be fair alongside our other products following a successful first year. On top of this, continued marketing of the product via my facebook farm page, Nature's Estate Farm, www.facebook.com/naturesestatefarm, as well as the MacCurdy Farm facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maccurdy-Farm/326323597503573, and Justin's blogsite, http://maccurdyfarm.com, will be utilized. Other defined options include other local social media outlets and those interested persons included within our farming/food production network of other Atlantic Canadian producers, distributors, restaurants, and food outlets are to be considered.
This being my 6th year in the business of sustainable agriculture and following the success of numerous agricultural and agroforestry products, I am confident in my ability to serve this product to the local consumer base and beyond. Please come and check us out via the provided links!
A big thank you to all who offer feedback and pledge their support towards this endeavor. Your donations are a blessing as is your encouragement. Please stay tuned for updates as things progress!
Jon MacCurdyLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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