Rich and spicy sweet, with a wonderful caramel-like flavor, Pure Alaska Birch Syrup is produced in Talkeetna, Alaska by Kevin Alfonsi. Each spring Kevin collects the sap from paper birch trees and evaporates it to syrup in much the same way pure maple syrup is produced. It takes approximately 100 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of birch syrup; maple by comparison is approximately 40:1. Fully concentrated, Alaska Pure Birch Syrup makes a superb sweetener, dessert topping or as a secret ingredient in your favorite recipe. It is wonderful on ice cream, in milkshakes and in coffee, and adds a robust sweetness to pancakes and waffles.
Birch Syrup is a truly unique flavor from Alaska's forests, and a quite rare one at that. Aside from Alaska, there is little commercial production of birch syrup anywhere else in the world. The predominant, naturally occurring sugar in birch syrup is fructose, as opposed to maple which contains primarily sucrose. Birch syrup is high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, manganese, thiamin, and calcium. Tapping the trees does not injure them as it will take only 10-15% of the total sap production of the tree. One tap per tree limit; and each tree is given a two year rest between tappings. Like maple syrup, Birch Syrup can only be harvested and made during a three-week period each spring.
Kevin does not use snow machines or four wheelers to gather sap from the birch forest. Instead, he uses lines of tubing and collection tanks. He and his staff walk through the forest with snowshoes to set their lines and tap the trees. It's very quiet work and a calm way to celebrate spring harvest every year. This method of birch sap gathering is both environmentally friendly as well as cost effective.
Kevin learned the skills of syrup making on a fifth generation farm of maple syrup producers. He started his first maple syrup business at the age of 14 with his brother Gary. Although both maple and birch syrup are made in the same way, they taste nothing alike. Kevin calls his Birch Syrup "Alaska's Secret Ingredient."