Welcome to Pure News, the official Woodlands Maple blog. Pure Maple will be the inside look behind this company, and the latest news on New York maple. Our first post is an opportunity to learn the story of Woodlands Maple, and the man behind the company, Michael Reiss.
Q: Tell me about Woodlands Maple? Why were you inspired to start this company?
MR: I sold my recruitment business in 2015. About this same time, I begin to notice that pure maple syrup was generally hard to find - even in New York’s best restaurants - I always brought my own! I wondered why? I polled friends and fellow restaurant customers to see if I was the only one who cared. It turns out I was not. Realizing the gap in the marketplace, I decided to start a business that provides New York’s restaurants and hotels with small batch, single-farmed maple syrup sourced from New York’s own maple trees.
Q: Where does your passion for pure maple come from?
MR: The amazing flavor of real maple just gets to me. Every time I taste it I love it even more - though growing up I never gave it a second thought. I just can’t believe that something that is made by nature without any additives or preservatives can be so delicious. I guess for me it is like picking a juicy orange at the peak of its flavor.
Q: What makes Woodlands Maple distinct?
MR: Woodlands Maple is distinct for a combination of three primary factors:
- Organic, Single Origin Maple. This means it is not blended with other syrups. And, because it is organic, when farmers are boiling sap into syrup they cannot use artificial defoamers like Propylene Glycol (a cousin to antifreeze) which most non-organic maple farms use since it works quickly.
- We Measure Flavor. Using the most advanced measurement instruments, we assess two important determinants of maple flavor: the percentage of sugar in a product, called Brix, and second, by measuring light transmittance of a liquid or, TC, to determine grade flavor.
- Farmer Integrity & Values. Our farmers care so much about the sustainability of their trees and the processing methods they employ. They will not jeopardize their integrity, the health of their trees and the quality of their maple just for more revenue.
Q: What is the most satisfying aspect of being the CEO of Woodlands Maple?
MR: The most rewarding aspect of this work are the relationships I have developed with the chefs who serve our maple and farmers who create it. I love to cook - I once considered going to culinary school - and this opportunity to watch the entire “behind the scenes” operation of New York’s best restaurants and see how food is prepared is exciting!
I’ve also loved getting to know the maple farmers. Seeing how much they care about their farms and how hard they work despite inclement weather, broken ribs, and black bears gives me a new perspective on the meaning of work ethic. They still believe in doing things on a handshake and have so much integrity. Spending time with them and their families in these small villages of upcountry New York gives me a positive feeling about our country, and thankful for the hard working farmers that help put food on our plates each day. I want to support these local farmers and assure these small businesses survive.
Yet, maybe the best reward has been discovering the natural beauty that is so close to me in upstate New York. Appreciating the sounds (or the silence) of the lakes, rivers, forests and farms of this region is so calming. It is a welcome respite from my hard-charging, fast-paced New York City life.