Holidays are for Community
It has been an incredible year for spreading the gospel of artisanal maple. As we have often said, there is an abundance of artisanal labeling, and precious little artisanal syrup. We want to change that. Change is important because quality is important. Nutrient loads are important. Flavor is important. Terroir, the so-called "taste of a place," is important. Community is important. Chef Katie Button and the talented crew at Blue Chalk Media were amazing in their ability to "story tell" the mission of Zoar Tapatree, and to communicate the magic of artisanal syrup--we are so grateful. This storytelling is educating people about why small-scale, tree-driven syrup making highlights the amazing life of the trees, and also supports sustainable production. Of course, Tapatree is not alone in having realized that artisanal attention to detail is important--it's just more common in areas like specialty coffee or wine. For this holiday season and the last restocking of syrup for the year, we wanted to highlight two of our favorite creative businesses: Grist & Toll and Cognoscenti Coffee. Both of these innovative businesses have been working with us, and their business models inspire energy and enthusiasm for the artisan in us. So let us tell you a bit more...
Nan Kohler started Grist & Toll in the heart of Pasadena, California at a time when there had not been an urban flour mill in over 100 years. She was driven by a desire to mill the best possible (and most delicious) authentic grains, and also to (re)carve out a niche for artisanal stone milling in areas where the people are: in a population center. She is what we think of when contemplating how to build back some resilience and sustainability in the food chain, and how to incorporate healthy food choices in an industrialized food landscape. In her own words, Grist & Toll is a Grain Curator (having the care and superintendence of wheat, guardians, overseers of a heritage grain collection), a Wheat Garagista (French, from "garer"-to dock, to protect: a wine industry term that applies to those on the cutting edge who craft in small batches, strive to be different, pioneers, and rule-breakers), and Creative Collaborator (to work together on a common enterprise, project, or sphere of common interest--with customers and community). These are three qualities we aspire to emulate!
In 2009, Yeekai Lim morphed from a career in architecture to a career in specialty coffee, yet the influence of "design" has left an immutable mark on both iterations of his professional life. If you search for Lim info online, you'll find he is often described as architect-turned-coffee-genius; his influence in specialty coffee is well-regarded. From his passion for the intricate chaos of coffee, Cognoscenti Coffee was born, first as a pop-up in Los Angeles, and now in three LA locations. Cognoscenti serves only single-origin espresso and brewed coffees. Specialty coffee is a natural bedfellow for artisanal maple syrup: both are plant-based delicacies, where the interplay of plant, process and the finished product can yield perfection or pathos. They're also similar in that until properly considered, the casual consumer might miss a world of amazing (and this goes for grains as well!). Lim has clearly elevated "proper consideration" to a high-art, and his coffees are outstanding.
We are delighted to have been collaborating with Grist & Toll and Cognoscenti Coffee, and are thrilled to introduce pairings of Tapatree Syrup with grains from Nan and coffee from Yeekai for the holidays! Celebrating artisans who focus on quality, authenticity, and flavor simply makes us happy, and we hope it makes you happy also.
Shifting the lens to celebrate food which celebrates plants, which celebrate artisans, which celebrate health ...seems pretty festive to us. It is an exciting and rich journey to start micro-appreciating the world around us. Thank you each for joining us on this grand adventure.
So stay tuned for November 1st when we will be adding some delicious grains (Sonora California Wheat, Heirloom Blue Cornmeal, Ancient Spelt) paired with Tapatree Whole Maple syrup for all of your breakfast baking needs! And have your coffee grinder "at the ready" to sample Cognoscenti honey-processed beans from Rio Grande, Costa Rica, together with a superb Whole Maple for Coffee profiled for this delicious brew! There will be some of your familiar favorites as well, with Mini Tasting Sets, Twinning Terroir, and Emergency Bottles of Tapatree Whole Maple for Coffee. We're in the holiday spirit! May the joy of the season arrive early and stay late~