Eat, Drink And Be indie: Tasty Recipes, Inspiring Maker Stories & Exclusives

Runamok Maple

Eric and Laura Sorkin are maple people – and we get to reap the sweet benefits of their labor. The maple syrup that they tap from their 81,000 Vermont trees (they’ve got 1100 acres in Cambridge, VT,  and 250 acres in Fairfield) is some of the finest, richest and most pure maple gold we’ve ever tasted. But they didn’t set out to make syrup: in addition to both holding degrees in Environmental Management, Eric has a law degree from Columbia University and Laura has a culinary degree from the French Culinary Institute. The couple moved up to Vermont from Washington, D.C., in 2001 to start an organic farm, but ultimately found “sugaring” to be their true calling.

They’ve put their degrees good use in setting up Runamok’s modern tree-tapping operation, which uses vacuum technology to collect the sap they harvest during sugaring season and reverse osmosis to filter out the water from the sap so that what’s left is pure, clean, light sap. The water they remove – about 97% of the sap – is returned to the land to replenish the watershed, and the remaining sap they cook down into maple syrup. And, oh, that syrup!

With Laura’s culinary training, the couple has developed far more than an incredible bottle of maple syrup (though they’ve done that, too). In addition to their pure Grade A maple “Sugarmaker’s Cut,” they also have created smoked, barrel-aged and infused maple syrups in flavors like cinnamon and vanilla, ginger, cardamom and elderberry. Each flavored syrup is perfectly balanced – whether smokey, boozy or infused. Rather than being overwhelmed by these flavorings, the pure maple flavor is heightened and its subtleties are revealed, for a very different (and very delicious) maple experience. While we love these syrups on pancakes and waffles of course, the range of flavors makes them equally excellent drizzled on roasted vegetables, stirred into cocktails and mixed into marinades.

Because is there anything a few drops of maple syrup can’t improve? Clearly, we’re maple people, too.