Savoury birch syrup produced by north shore farmer

A young farmer from Point La Nim in northern New Brunswick is diversifying and trying his hand at producing birch syrup.

Jon MacCurdy is hoping to expand the number of birch trees he taps at his Point La Nim farm

A young farmer from Point La Nim in northern New Brunswick is diversifying and trying his hand at producing birch syrup.

Jon MacCurdy and his family run a farm, where they raise cattle and grow all kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Last year, he says he decided to tap the birch trees on his property to see if he could make a business out of birch syrup. 

"I was successful in all that I made. We only did 50 taps last year but we sold several cases of finished syrup," he said.

Making birch syrup, however, is more expensive than producing maple syrup.

The sap-to-syrup ratio for birch trees is 100-to-one while the yield for maple trees is four times greater than making the birch syrup.

MacCurdy says he sells his syrup, which is more savoury than sweet, for $15 per 250 millilitres and it seems to appeal to "the finer palate."

He sold most of his syrup last season at the local farmers' market but he is hoping to tap even more trees this year as the birch syrup, which is already popular in Scandinavia and Alaska, starts to gain popularity in Canada.

MacCurdy has started an online campaign in hopes of raising $7,500 to expand his birch operation.

His biggest purchase would be an evaporator to increase the volume of sap he can process to 1,000 litres or more.

"We are hoping to increase upon the number of taps to 150 to 200 taps," he said.

In the meantime, MacCurdy says he is anxious for the sap to start running, as his final litre of birch syrup from last season has been sold to a local craft brewer who is using it in a batch of beer.