Fresh Finds: The Best of NYC Greenmarkets
by Alyssa Grossman, 05/01/2012
Photo: flickr4jazz (via Flickr)
Deep Mountain Maple
The backstory: Vermont residents Stephan and Howie Cantor started Deep Mountain Maple in 1985. Back then, the Greenmarkets were in their infancy and the couple sold their products only a few weekends a year. Both fell in love with the process of sugaring: "Just when you're getting cabin fever at the beginning of spring, it's time to get out into the woods," says Stephan.
Prep process: Sap starts to flow from the sugar maples at winter's end, when days are above freezing and nights are still cold. When that ideal weather occurs, the Cantor's farm becomes a science lab of sorts. Stephan and Howie go from tree to tree, drilling a small hole to insert a spout that connects to a system of tubing. "Think of it like plumbing in the woods," Stephan says. "All the sap is directed to huge tanks at the various places in the woods and at our sugarhouse, where the sap is boiled down into syrup." Typically, the first syrups of the season are light in color and as the weather warms, they become darker, with a stronger flavor. Deep Mountain Maple makes about 2,000 gallons a year.
One thing you have to buy: That depends on your use for the syrup. The darker grade B is perfect for baking and cooking, while grade A is ideal for table syrup. As for Stephan (who, as a side note, would never pour maple syrup over her pancakes), medium amber does the trick.
Favorite moment at the markets: For 13 years, the Cantors participated in a market at the World Trade Center. "After 9/11, that market was no longer, " says Stephan. "We had loyal customers down there, but we didn't know their names. When we went back to Union Square in the following months and year, occasionally one of our old customers would walk up to the stand. It was such an amazing feeling to know they were okay."
When and where:
Friday and Saturday: Union Square
Sunday: Jackson Heights