Maple syrup – sweet, sticky, and tastes great on basically every breakfast food known to humankind. Pancakes, french toast, waffles, bacon…coffee – you name it. Maple syrup = best topping ever.
But what REALLY goes into crafting that little bottle of golden goodness on your breakfast table?
We spoke with homegrown, Minnesota maple syrup crafters, Paul and Arica Sutherland, to get the inside scoop…or ladle, on syrup-making.
They Go Together Like Syrup and Pancakes
Married with three mostly-grown children, Paul and Arica run Minnesota Syrup Company out of their home in Finland, MN. What began eight years ago as a bucket and wood-fire family activity, has grown to a full-fledged maple syrup operation with plenty of taps and 16 miles of tubing!
Of course, growing up in the Sutherland household, Paul and Arica’s children pitched in (pun intended), either for fun or because Mom and Dad said so.
But in essence, Minnesota Syrup Co. is a two-person affair, making the finished product that much more impressive.
When we say “secret ingredient” we really mean two things: 1) a metaphoric secret ingredient, and 2) a few actual ingredients.
First, the metaphoric secret ingredient – hard work!
“There’s a lot of maintaining in the woods throughout the year,” Arica Sutherland explained, “animals chew the lines, they cause damage, and in the wintertime when you start tapping the trees if the snow is deep, and you’re trudging through the snow. Even though we have a pretty good system, it’s still a lot of hard work to get the final product.”
But anything worth doing takes time and effort, and making syrup is no exception. For Arica, it’s worth it and she enjoys feedback from customers.
“Hearing how many (people) like our product and how it’s way better than other people’s maple syrup. That’s good to hear,” Arica said, “it’s nice to hear feedback from people about how your product is. That’s rewarding.”
So, what about the actual secret ingredients?
You can get Minnesota Maple Syrup in four different flavors:
- Habanero - a fresh habanero pepper is sealed inside each bottle. Great for glazes, sauces, & dips.
- Vanilla bean - a definite home run.
- Cinnamon - nothing wrong with that.
- Bourbon - the flavor is infused by aging the syrup for nearly a year in bourbon barrels!
Check out Minnesota Syrup’s recipes for cooking and baking ideas!
What Else is New?
They’ve also started crafting maple sugar, which is granular and can be used in place of cane sugar.
“You can bake with it, cook with it, put it on your oatmeal,” Arica explained of the natural sugar alternative.
If it’s as delicious as their maple syrup, we’re in!
From Tree to Table
One of the coolest things about Minnesota Syrup Company is that Paul and Arica craft their products every step of the way.
From tap to table, they collect, refine, infuse, package, and distribute their syrup themselves. Right down to the decorative foil and tags hung by hand by Arica, to the packaging and shipping of online orders – Arica and Paul do it all.
Learn More or Shop
The Minnesota Syrup Company syrup bottle is part of our Minnesota Plaid box