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  • Writer's pictureJillian Rebello

The Magic of Maple Season with Runamok

As we turned off the paved road, down a winding path surrounded by trees, we couldn’t help but admire the beautiful setting the Runamok Sugarhouse calls home. Rounding out our trip to Vermont to meet some of our favorite artisan producers, founder and CEO Eric Sorkin, and VP of Sales Alix welcomed us with warmth and enthusiasm, and we couldn’t wait to see where the maple magic happens!

Environmental Stewardship

Runamok is a family-owned, Vermont based company that started with a foundation of premium, organic maple syrup and has expanded to an array of maple and honey-based products. Started by husband and wife, Eric and Laura Sorkin, Runamok runs two facilities; their agricultural facility (where the sap is collected and where we were able to visit) and their bottling and production facility just a short drive away.

We began our tour at the sugarhouse with a short trek into the forest, where Eric shared his deep knowledge of the land and its rich history. We also learned about their unwavering commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, ensuring that future generations will continue to enjoy the bounty of the maple forest for years to come. In fact, they recently moved entirely to solar, which will power all of the energy needed to run their production facility; and maple syrup is very energy intensive to produce!

A Passion For The Craft

From here, we could see just some of the 1200 miles of tubing running through the woods to carry sap back to the sugarhouse. For just a few short weeks each spring, sap will flow through these tubes. Before that can happen, each of the 120,000 individual taps needs to be installed each year (to preserve the health of the trees). Once installed, the Runamok woods team hikes up and down the entire stretch of rugged terrain every day throughout the season to ensure the lines are working appropriately, and find any leaks. From sun up, to sun down, in snow, rain, wind, and sunshine they are diligently monitoring the collection process to ensure the best possible season.

From here, Eric led us into the heart of the sugarhouse, where the real magic happens. We met Nash who lives on site and has worked his way up learning the maple industry, and now overseeing the production process here. We were instantly struck by his obvious passion for his work, nature, and his dedication to the craft of collecting and producing artisan maple products. Maple, as with anything that comes from nature, is extremely susceptible to weather and therefore the harvest can be quite unpredictable. Eric, Nash and team are at the ready once the season begins, because they know that they have no control over how long it will last, or how fruitful the season will be. At the height of the season, it is common for Runamok to boil consistently around the clock for days on end.

From Sap to Syrup

Once the sap makes its way through the tubes, it is collected and boiled inside of the sugarhouse. The team uses a reverse osmosis process to remove the water from the sap, and cut down on the boil time (and fuel consumption!). It is stored in massive collection drums waiting to be boiled. Here, we were able to taste the fresh, sweet sap in its pure form. Did you know that each of these huge 40 gallon collection drums only produces one single gallon of Maple Syrup? This gave us true perspective into the amount of work and sap it takes to create each bottle of pure Runamok Maple Syrup.

From here, the sap enters the boilers and passes along a maze of heating elements that showcase the meticulous care and attention to detail that defines Runamok's approach to syrup making. Once collected, the Maple Syrup is barreled, and transported over to the bottling facility where it can be infused with flavor, or their signature sparkles and bottled for all of us to enjoy.

True Vermont Artisanship

From the beautiful woods that surround the sugarhouse, to the hands-on craftsmanship that goes into every bottle, it was clear that Eric, Nash, and the entire Runamok team takes pride in every aspect of their operation. As we said goodbye to Eric and team, I couldn't help but feel grateful for the opportunity to witness firsthand the magic of maple syrup production. Through Eric's guidance and expertise, we deepened our appreciation for this timeless tradition and the passionate artisans who bring it to life.


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