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Sweet & sappy Big Leaf Maple Syrup

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exada Island is now home to Big Leaf Maple Syrup, a small business that takes its name from Texada’s Big Leaf Maple trees. This tree produces generous amounts of sap in the winter and early spring. “The secret is to hit the right time,” said Katrin GlennBittner, who operates a small farm in the High Road area of Texada. Along with businessmen and brothers Kelly and Bradley Hughes, the three operate Big Leaf Maple Syrup. Using eastern methods of rendering sap to syrup, they constructed a reduction plant using wood burning furnaces and large stainless steel kettles. Kelly constructed the furnaces by converting wood-burning home heaters into flat-topped furnaces to accept the kettles. “The actual process is really quite simple. Boil, boil, and boil, until the desired consistency and volume is reached. While simple, this part of the operation is very laborintensive and time consuming,” she said. “Fires must be stoked continuously to maintain the boil.” Brad, Katrin, and Kelly spend many hours collecting many, many litres of sap. Once the original volume of sap is reduced by 85 or 90 per cent, the final procedure takes place. “And herein lies the secret,” said Katrin. “To make a unique syrup, everything is critical, volume, temperature, consistency, color, and above all, flavor. Inattention to any of these could ruin a whole batch of syrup.” Once achieved, the final product is filtered, bottled, and labelled on Texada Island. The total initial production sold out quickly, with customers clamoring for more, said Katrin. It is hoped that the trees will cooperate and that Big Leaf Maple Syrup will be available for Christmas.

Find our berries at Safeway, Ecossentials, Mitchell Brothers, Quality Foods, the Farmer’s Market, Coast Fitness, and at the farm!

Open in early July. Thursday to Saturday 9 am - 5 pm.

HOME GROWN 2015 • 5

Home Grown 2015  

Local food and agriculture. Who's growing food? What food? The stories behind local growers. Plus a map of where food is being grown in the...