Story by Cynthia McFarland
When Jeremy and Abi Solin step into the sugar shack on their family’s northern Wisconsin maple syrup operation, Tapped Maple Syrup, they are continuing a centuries-old tradition. “Native Americans were the first to make maple syrup,” says Jeremy, who co-owns the farm with his wife. “They’re the ones who really created the process, although they mostly made maple sugar because it was more stable and transportable.” The first Solins settled on the farm in 1917. “Our kids are the fifth generation of family on this land,” he observes.
Tapped is all about craft-infused, barrel-aged, and pure maple syrup from sustainably managed forests. In addition to tapping about one thousand trees on their own land, the Solins work with other producers in their growing effort to use maple syrup to build an economy that sustains both forests and rural communities.
Jeremy explains that, while many people think of New England when it comes to maple syrup, the Upper Midwest actually has a higher density of sugar maples than the Northeast. “We’re right in the heart of the country’s sugar maple region. Wisconsin is fourth in the country in production of maple syrup, producing 250,000 gallons per year. We want to expand past the idea that maple syrup is just for pancakes.”
In addition to their namesake pure maple syrup, which is rich and slightly smoky, Tapped produces an intriguing line of craft-infused maple syrups in an array of flavors:
- Black Umami Garlic infused
- Spicy Black Umami Garlic infused
- Red Pepper
The Solins will never try to talk anyone out of maple syrup on pancakes, but it is too versatile to be confined to that use alone. Maple syrup can replace refined sugar when baking and cooking. Add it to oatmeal, yogurt, and ice cream. Make grilling glazes, or add a touch of sweetness to salad dressings and sauces. Use it to impart sweetness and flavor to coffee and tea. Jeremy routinely enhances his coffee with cardamom-infused maple syrup.
Tapped has also created two unique cocktail syrups: Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters and Old Fashioned, which add complexity to both alcoholic and “mocktail” numbers.
The process of making syrup is essentially the same today as centuries ago: get the sap out of the tree and heat it to remove the water. It takes 35 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. All the sweetness comes naturally from the tree. Sugar is never added.
Maple syrup is a low-glycemic index food with numerous health benefits. It contains antioxidants known to fight free radicals and even has anti-inflammatory properties.
Espresso and Oat Maple SmoothieRecipe submitted by Tapped Maple Syrup
- ½ cup plant milk warmed
- ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¼ cup Tapped Maple Syrup Espresso Infused
- 1 banana
- 1 cup ice
- Combine warm milk and oats in a small bowl.
- Let stand 10 minutes or until oats begin to soften.
- Place oat mixture, syrup, banana, and ice in a blender. Process until smooth.
- Serve immediately.
What's Your Reaction?
Cynthia is a full-time freelance writer and author of nine non-fiction books. Cherished recipes and foods are woven through her favorite memories.Find her stories in our magazines!