Those close to us know that Sapsucker isn’t only a product we created, it’s a lifestyle that we strive to live everyday. After being swept up in the undertow of urban life we’re trying to get back to our rural routes and live a slower, more authentic way of life. We’ve found this much easier to do when we are surrounded by like-minded people, Michael and Nobuyo Stadtlander are experts in the field.
We first met Michael and Nobuyo when we started attending the dinners at their property, Eigensinn Farm, and it was love at first bite. Getting to spend time with family and friends eating delicious food that had been grown from the earth we were standing on is the epitome of our happy place. Like us, they had done the city thing and were looking to slow things down in a rural setting. Eigensinn is a magical place that combines agriculture, cooking, craftmanship and art in to a creative haven that we think everyone should experience once in their lifetime. In case you can’t make the drive out to the farm now you’re lucky enough to be able to experience it at Tiff Bell Lightbox on Wednesday, March 22.
This Wednesday Tiff Bell Lightbox will be showing a documentary called The Singhampton Project as part of their Food on Film series. The documentary, by director Jonathan Staav, profiles a project by Michael Stadtlander and landscape artist Jean Paul Ganem. These two visionaries teamed up to grow seven different gardens which each grew the components for one course in a seven-course meal. Guests strolled from garden to garden experiencing a change in landscape with each course.
We have always been inspired by the Stadtlanders, they were one of the first people that we came to with Sapsucker (you can even see our very own Nancy in the film, years before the birth of Sapsucker). They’ve been some of our biggest champions which means a lot to us as we’re one of the only consumable products that they support. One of our first events was the Eigensinn wild leek and maple syrup festival, which was kind of like Sapsuckers coming out. We’re so excited to see this documentary, so we can re-visit one of the most magical dinner we’ve ever eaten and truly gain an understanding of the months of work that went in to making it happen.
We’re in love with spring!!! The birds are chirping, the sun is warm and most importantly its sap season! This time of year is especially busy for us as it is the only time of year that we harvest the delicate sap that is Sapsucker maple water.
Early springtime provides us with the perfect temperature for harvesting maple water. Cool spring air means the trees still have stores of energy from winter, while the thawing of the earth provides warmth for the sap to flow. We have a small window to collect Sapsucker. Once buds appear on the trees, our harvest time is over.
This means that every spring we keep a keen eye on the weather, making plans based on forecasts that have been known to change at the tip of a hat. That mainstay of polite small-talk, the weather, becomes our favourite topic of conversation. Is it going to warm up? Is it supposed to stay warm? I heard there was going to be another cold snap!
This year we’re inviting everyone to be weather watchers with us! We’ve installed the weather widget on our blog to keep everyone up-to-date on the meteorological goings-on in Flesherton.
The weather widget got us thinking, wouldn’t it be great if we could invite everyone out to the sugar bush with us to share this season that we hold so dear? We had to make some concessions for practicality but decided the best way to do this would be to set up Sapsucker’s (and as far as we could tell the world’s) first Sapcam!
This web cam is trained on one of the maple trees we’ve tapped on our properties. We know not everyone has had the opportunity to come out to a sugar bush. That was part of our motivation for starting Sapsucker, to share this secret of rural Ontario life with everyone. Now we want to take it one step further and give people a chance to see an Ontario maple tree with the sap flowing in real time.
It might seem a bit sappy but we’re proud to share our second harvest with you, so check out the Sapcam and join in the fun! Don’t forget to follow us on the Sapsucker maple water Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts to stay up-to-date on everything else we have planned for the spring harvest!
Definitely a pinch-us-are-we-dreaming moment when House & Home approached us about featuring Sapsucker in the March issue of their magazine.
2016 is off to a pretty great start!
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it? Look at these maple branches. Don’t they give you a thrill—several thrills?”
– LM Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
As the weather cools and the summer transitions into fall, we remember why this is one of our favourite seasons.
Fall imparts a certain magic in Ontario, especially in the Beaver Valley region. It’s a time for being outdoors—for harvesting the bounty of produce resting in the fields, and for long walks in the woods, marvelling at the vibrant canopy of the trees.
It’s also a time to come together indoors—to brew tea and get cozy, to celebrate the harvest with long dinners that stretch late into the night. Sharing a meal brings people together, and we are so grateful for our celebratory Thanksgiving weekend full of laughter and love, family and friends.
This past month also afforded us the chance to take part in number of community-driven events. Chef Michael Stadtländer and his team at hosted a day-long Harvest Festival that included three meals, live music, and the opportunity to camp overnight on their property. And because we couldn’t get enough of Stadtländer’s work, we participated in a second event called Scratch during the Small Halls Festival. Scratch was a tasting event with music and prominent authors, and the funds raised during the event were used to support Syrian refugees.
We also teamed up with The Extraordinary Tree project—a local organization based in Grey County that aims to raise awareness of the significance and influence of the tree in our lives, starting with the Nominate a Tree Challenge. Being lovers of all things local, we also took part in the Grey Bruce Agriculture & Culinary Association‘s Field to Fork event, where an all-star team of vendors served up an incredible array of local fare from across the region.
Finally, we finished the month with a feast that made pigs of us all: La Grande Choucroute, a multi-course collaborative feast that paid homage to the heritage Mangalista pig. The meal marked the culmination of Pigstock 2015, a day-long workshop on the Mangalista, put on by FeastON and Evergreeen Brickworks. We marvelled as dish after dish rolled out: offal pâté, pork rillettes, house-baked bread, bright pickles, blood sausage stew, braised pork belly, long loin, sauerkraut, several types of sausage — and pecan pie made with pork lard to top it all off.
We want to heartily thank everyone who made this past Fall such a special experience for us. The season is a beautiful one, to be sure, but it wouldn’t be half as beautiful if it weren’t for all of you.