Minnesota is pretty flat. That is, until you make your way north. Way north. (Does it seem like you're in Canada? Yep, you made it!) Tucked way up there between Superior National Forest and the North Shore of Lake Superior you'll find Lusten, Minnesota, a somewhat mountainous region home to Sawtooth Mountain Maple Syrup Co.
Sawtooth owners Chris Cordes, Greg Nichols and Kirstin van den Berg manage a sugar bush with 27,000+ taps that carry pure sap to the sugar house each spring for processing. But not just any sap. Thanks to the elevated landscape and unique Northwoods location, that sap is concentrated into truly pure, organic maple syrup that boasts notes of butter and vanilla. We can't possibly think of a better flavor profile.
But the flavor isn't the only thing to love about Sawtooth and maple syrup. What we learned about maple syrup on a recent visit to the Sawtooth bush feels like man + nature's combined best kept secret: There’s no more self-sustaining, carbon sequestering, regenerative agricultural product than maple syrup.
In a nutshell, the process of collecting sap from maple trees is completely harmless to nature. Not only is there no negative impact on the trees themselves, but unlike most agricultural products, there is no annual planting or harvesting or tilling needed so nutrients (and carbon) stays in the ground. On top of all that, Sawtooth repurposes most raw materials including the water removed from the sap for tasks like cleaning equipment, making the process low to zero waste.
Sustainable and regenerative? ✓
Sourced locally and responsibly? ✓
Organic and delicious? ✓
Photography: Katie Cannon Photography