A bigleaf maple stands in a deep green forest.

Photo Credit: James Seay | Flickr

Have You Tried Canada’s Most Elite Maple Syrup?

This mouthwatering Pacific flavour is worth the price

Tough to produce, but well worth the effort

It takes 100 litres of sap to produce 1 litre of this incredible syrup. And people are going crazy over it.

Unlike sugar maples—where most maple syrup comes from—bigleaf maples are indigenous to the west coast. Their sap is full of complex flavours that stand out from your typical maple.

“Sap from west coast bigleaf maple trees is only 1 percent sugar,” said Kleekhoot Gold, the Indigenous-led company that’s producing the syrup.

That’s why bigleaf maple syrup is so much harder to make. And why the syrup costs a premium.

It’s about 4 times more expensive than regular syrup. But that’s not stopping syrup lovers from getting their hands on it.

The syrup has a heavenly flavour that displays notes of butterscotch, vanilla, and even robust molasses near the end of season.

The Hupacasath Nation has invested about $300,000 into the business. They’ll get nearly $112,000 more from the province’s Indigenous Bioeconomy Program.

The investment will help protect the forest where the maples grow and create sustainable jobs.

“Riparian areas, such a rivers and streams, are usually off-limits to logging operations,” Kleekhoot Gold told Ha-Shilth-Sa.

“Conveniently, these areas are where maple trees grow best. The winter harvest of maple sap allows for unique job opportunities in the months that traditionally have less seasonal work available.”

“Kleekhoot Gold has provided training and employment opportunities to our youth over the first few years of operations,” said Chief Brandy Lauder, Hupacasath First Nation.

“It is also bringing our members back into the forests with a renewed sense that there is more to the forest than just logging opportunities. We are very proud of the product produced here and by our members who work so hard to produce it for everyone.”

The syrup company is demonstrating how we can benefit from our natural forest resources in new and sustainable ways.

Josie Osborne is the MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. She visited their production site recently and tasted the syrup firsthand. She called it a prime example of transforming our natural resources to make something amazing.

“Kleekhoot Gold is a great example of how innovative forest management can help strengthen communities,” she said.

“People in the Alberni Valley take so much pride in locally grown food, and bigleaf maple syrup makes a sweet addition to our local food landscape.”

Kleekhoot Gold Bigleaf Maple Syrup is one of seven business ventures the Hupacasath Nation is investing in.

To learn more about their economic development projects, visit hupacasath.ca.