The New Steamer

     Have you ever tasted 100% pure maple syrup?  You could almost say it's an experience to do so.   There is a reason why it costs twice or three times what factory produced, high fructose corn syrup does.  Not only does real maple syrup taste better (WAY better in our opinion), but it's also much more difficult to come by.  

     We've written about this a few times because this authentic process is critical.  The 100% Pure Maple Syrup that the Chadwicks use in their Maple Craft Spirits is completely family-made on their own property.  As we've said before, it requires 40 gallons of raw maple sap to be boiled down into 1 gallon of syrup.  It's quite a task actually.  A big part of it takes place in large, wood-fueled "steamers" that boil off the excess water.  With the increased need for maple syrup, the Chadwick's have had to collect and boil down more sap than usual. 

     Just recently, the Chadwicks' welcomed home a brand-new steamer in to help out.

     To end this post, I just have to note the SOUNDS of that steamer doing its job.  That's the sound of a natural product.  No huge factories, or unknown ingredients here.

     

The Beauty of Winter in Maine

     Although the Chadwick's, and perhaps most who live in Maine, chose to immerse themselves in several feet of snow each year, many may say that snow is best viewed in pictures (as opposed to being piled on top of your car).  And for those people, we have these stunningly beautiful images of snow covered scenes from our very own Laurel Chadwick.  Enjoy.

Chickadee on a branch.

Chickadee on a branch.

Branches of an apple tree.

Branches of an apple tree.

"Burning Bush" covered in snow.

"Burning Bush" covered in snow.

Covered Bridge.

Covered Bridge.

Bare trees over the cabin.

Bare trees over the cabin.

Final Boil

Like we said in the last post, sometimes it is beneficial to do the final boiling down inside on a stove.  Today we have a short clip of Lynn doing just that.  Again, during this entire process, NOTHING is added.  No sugar, so preservatives, or anything.  It's just pure maple sap that has most of the water content boiled off.  That's 100% pure maple syrup. 

Boiling Down the Sap

It is a common practice to boil down maple sap into syrup in a predominantly outdoor facility, much like the one Lynn Chadwick uses.  The basic reasons for this has to do with the shear amount of everything.  Like we've said in previous posts, it takes 40 gallons of sap to make just 1 gallon of syrup, so that alone takes up a large area.  But perhaps one of the biggest benefits of being outside (or in a highly-ventilated area) is being able to deal with the huge amount of steam that is let off.  30 gallons of it for just one batch.

     As you can see, the process of boiling down the sap isn't rocket science, but it does require attention.  The heat has to be constant, and you need to be wary of any charred pieces from the sides of the pan.  These won't ruin the batch, but it could give the syrup an off flavoring if you aren't careful.  Sometimes additional filtering is done to help ensure quality.

Collecting the Sap

     A decent sized maple tree can produce a couple gallons of sap everyday.  With 20-30 trees, you could imagine that is quite a haul.  But a great deal is needed to actually boil it down into maple syrup.  The general rule of thumb is 40 gallons of sap for every 1 gallon of syrup.  Just watching Lynn out by herself checking on a few buckets of collected sap gives a pretty good idea of just how much manpower is required for the overall process.

Drilling for Sap 2017

     The exact history of boiling down maple sap into sugar and syrup is a little vague.  However, it is known that by the late 1700's, both the Native Americans and European settlers in North America were regularly doing this.  Perhaps the most distinct evidence comes from a famous book published in 1799 called An Account of the Remarkable Occurrences in the Life and Travels of Col. James Smith.  The book recalls Col. Smith's capture and "adoption" by a small group of natives in the region that is now Ohio, during which he describes the Native Americans boiling down sap into syrup.  Over 200 years later, Maple syrup and the products containing it is a multi-billion dollar industry.  Yet, the simple process to get it is practically unchanged to this day.  

     As it is, the Chadwicks have a few dozen sizable maple trees on their property.  Not only do they regularly tap them each year, they use the 100% pure maple syrup they make to flavor Chadwick's Maple Craft Spirits.  Today to have Lynn Chadwick give us a glimpse into the hands-on process they use to draw the maple sap from a maple tree.

Beauty in White

The first real blizzard conditions in Maine this year dropped a good 2 feet of snow on much of the state in less than a day.  And then another solid storm dumped at least another foot.  Although this definitely can bring some conveniences, like traveling, to a total halt, Maine is more than used to a little snow.  In fact, as Larry Chadwick says, it's part of the reason they live there.  One look at the pristine beauty of the photos in today's post should be enough to back up his opinion.

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Chickadee taking flight.

Chickadee taking flight.

Let it Snow

     Well, it was difficult (and dangerous) to film very much during the blizzard itself, but we're happy to present some wonderful clips from when after the storm had past.  Of course, this is deep snow at any point, but remember that most of it fell in the last 24 hours.

But of course, Larry being Larry, it's not just the humans he's concerned for.

     Well, that's all for now.  Tonight promises another foot.  Should be fun!

Calm Before the Storm

     Today is February 12.  The first real snow storm of the year is about to hit all of Maine with several feet of snow within a 24 hour period, and with winds up to 60 miles an hour.  Perhaps "blizzard" would be a more accurate term in this case.  Of course, for those who've lived in Maine for any length of time, this kind of weather is nothing new.  It's never anything to trifle with, but it's also not anything to fear.  The Chadwick's, in fact, rather enjoy preparing for such a storm.

     Larry being who he is of course, he's not just concerned about himself and his human friends and family affected by the weather.  He's also observant and helpful to the wildlife as well.  

Cold but Beautiful

It was a cold but clear morning in Pittston, Maine today.  The snow is not as deep as it has been in years past, but the temperature is still low enough to chill your bones if you're not careful.  It sure is beautiful though.

Morning view on Chadwick Lane.

Morning view on Chadwick Lane.

     This sheet of ice is perilous indeed.  It makes every step to the cabin a challenge.

Great Chefs Tasting Party

     The American Culinary Federation Piscataway Chapter Great Chefs Tasting party at the end of January is an annual event that benefits educational and scholarship programs of the ACF Piscataway and numerous local nonprofit organizations.  This year, Lynn Chadwick attended, bringing a sampling of Chadwick's Maple Craft Spirits with her.

     The following is taken from the ACF website at www.adfpiscataquachefs.org.  "The American Culinary Federation Inc. (ACF), a professional organization of chefs and cooks, was founded in 1929 in New York City.  The organization is based on promoting the professional image of American chefs worldwide through education of culinarians at all levels."

     "The Piscataqua Chapter of the AFC is dedicated to the promotion of excellence, education, professionalism and collegiality in the culinary profession."

     With all of that said, and with nearly 100 years of history to back it, it was quite an honor and privilege for Chadwick's Maple Craft Spirits to be served to such discriminating palettes.  But it is also a testament to the great quality of the Chadwick's product.  Cheers!

New Location in New Jersey! And Now in New York!

  The good news continues to spread about Chadwick's Maple Craft Spirits!  We're happy to announce two new locations now carrying our incredible product.

GARY'S WINE & MARKETPLACE

121 Main Street, Madison, NJ 07940  (973) 633-3900

Visit:  www.garyswine.com  for an better look at this amazingly well-stocked shopping experience.

Visit: www.garyswine.com for an better look at this amazingly well-stocked shopping experience.

And in now New York at Park Avenue Wine Shop

at 250 East Park Avenue, Long Beach, NY 11561 (516) 431-8400

Visit  www.longbeachwineshop.com  for more on their remarkable selection of wines and spirits.

Visit www.longbeachwineshop.com for more on their remarkable selection of wines and spirits.

View From Doom Forest

     Winter is still in full swing up in Pittston, Maine.  Today's temperatures had a high of 37 and low of 27.  Not too shabby for this time of year, actually.  Either way, the wood stove is going in the Chadwick's cabin, and the distilling of Chadwick's Craft Spirits carries on.

It's cold but clear in this shot of Larry Chadwick's hand built cabin.  The fireplace and chimney was constructed from rocks found on Larry's property while building the main structure.

It's cold but clear in this shot of Larry Chadwick's hand built cabin.  The fireplace and chimney was constructed from rocks found on Larry's property while building the main structure.

     The cast iron wood stove in the cabin was built by a family friend nearly 40 years ago.  It has been used nearly everyday since, and works just as well in 2017 as it did decades ago.

     A big part of the process is simply the transferring of liquid from one container to the next.  Sometimes it's just the "mash" ready to be distilled, sometimes it's distilled alcohol getting ready to be distilled again, and sometimes it's the fully Triple Distilled alcohol being transferred into the white oak barrels for aging.   Here we have a shot of the distilling process itself.  And of course, the correct temperature is critical.