We recently came across two Buzzfeed articles, which featured Bobo's Mountain Sugar as a brand of "hipster" maple syrup. In Guess How Much This Hipster Food Costs and Can You Spot the Most Expensive Hipster Maple Product?, "hipster" had a negative connotation, implying artisanal food was simply too expensive.
At myPanier, we strive to not only have the finest specialty food from around the world on our platform, but also at a fair price. Our idea of a fair price is one that is affordable for customers and properly rewards producers for their time and labor. While there might still be a price difference between artisan food and mass-produced food, we believe focusing on this aspect alone is synonymous to comparing apples and oranges. Instead, we would like to show everyone the true value of Bobo's Mountain Sugar by letting you discover the people behind your food.
It is not surprising to catch Tina and Skye working past 11pm. Sometimes, they may even be boiling sap late into the night until 1am in the morning. Tina Hartell and Skye Chalmers, the duo behind Bobo's Mountain Sugar, first bought their property in Weston, Vermont back in 2008. Bobo's Mountain (aka Markham Mountain) was a former sugarbush, so historically, maple syrups were produced here. Honoring the tradition of their land, the couple brought it back to life and began producing maple syrups with the help of their 5-year old twins, Wren and Aida.
It's this time of the year, around Feburary and March when the days get warmer that Tina begin to do work in the woods. With 40 acres of land, she has 2,500 red maple and sugar maple trees to tap and care for. The process for tapping a tree requires approaching every single tree and locating previous years' tap holes. From there, Tina measures out a distance and drills a new hole into the bark to hammer the tap in.
She then attaches a drop line to the tap and repeats this whole process with the other 2,499 trees. This is especially difficult with the mountain's steep terrain, but Tina still pursues with the help of her friend, Bobbie Jean Booth.
In the morning, once the tap starts flowing, Tina will go into the woods and manually check each line to make sure there's no leaks. If there are leaks, she will have to fix them. All the sap from these trees gathers into a 1,900 gallon tank, waiting to be boiled. Boiling starts around 2pm to 5pm but can go past midnight on many nights. It takes 55 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup, but for Tina and Skye, the best part is knowing where their syrup comes from.
Although Bobo's is a family-run business, the whole community is involved with the maple syrups! Family, friends and neighbors love to come help out and spend the remainder of the Vermont winter with the Chalmers. Tina and Skye choose to use local fuel by sourcing woods from their land or from their neighbors to run their operation. Besides tending to the business, the two are also full-time parents. Luckily, their kids love being on site and taste testing maple syrups when they're ready!
Even during off seasons, the family never stops working. Come May, it's time to clean up and untap the trees. During the summer and fall, it's time to hand bottle each product to ship them out and split firewoods for the next run.
myPanier is proud to have humble and dedicated artisans like Bobo's Mountain Sugar on our platform. The richness of their Vermont maple syrups is one that is truly unmatched and we invite you to have a taste for yourself.