Back in March, we packed up our bags and hit the road towards Dorset Valley to visit our friends from Dorset Maple Reserve to learn more about the maple syrup making process and to see what they'll be sharing with us this year at AF.
The Dorset Maple Reserve is a pristine 500 acre sugar maple forest located in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont in the small town of Dorset. With over 40,000 sugar maples this magnificent wood produces thousands of gallons of the finest gourmet quality maple syrup. During our meeting with them, we wanted to learn what the secret was behind their kick-ass syrup and we think we found it - a lot of patience and hard work.
Dorset Maple Reserve is a family run organization, all done by Austin Felis and his wife. A dynamic duo that handles all aspects of the process from harvesting to boiling, marketing to e-commerce, they do it all and pack their bags seasonally to meet their loyal fans show after show at AF.
AF: What's the most common surprise you find when it comes to sharing what you do for a living?
DM: What most people don’t realize is that maple syrup is made in the woods. We start in the early stages of winter going out and cleaning our lines up, clearing down branches, checking for animal bites, fighting the elements. We tap over 10,000 trees which takes weeks and week on end. We fight snow, we fight rain, we fight cold, we fight sub-zero temperatures.
AF: What goes into making maple syrup? Is it bad that we don't know this?
DM: Theres are so many variables that go into harvesting the sap that we have to devote a majority of time in the winter to make sure production runs smoothly.From the taps, we harvest the sap to our sugar house, which we collect to our two six thousand pound storage tanks we roughly harvest 1500 to 2000 of gallons of sap per hour during production season from there we run it through our RO machine which will squeeze 80 precent of the water out from the sap to start. Now we’ve taken our concentrate to that and we boil it.
Its a three stage process...and the end result is that we are boiling off 65-75 gallos of maple syrup an hour....After we are done packaging we hit the road and we head to AF.
AF: What made you decide to join AF way back when?
DM: One of the amazing things about AF is that all the vendors are hand crafted artisans and the quality of our products are superior to anything you can buy mass produced. Every single one of us puts our heart and soul into the product its a reflection of who we are as people and who we are as artists.
"What AF does is that it allows us to show our consumers our hard work and what we achieved from it."
Interested in learning more about Dorset Maple Reserve and testing out some of their delicious maple syrup? Join us at any of our AF events this season to meet Austin and snag a few bottles for yourself. Check out the full event line up here and get more recipes from the team at Dorset Maple Reserve.