Where is Runamok maple syrup made?

Quick Summary

Runamok maple syrup is made in Fairfield, Vermont by husband and wife duo Eric Sorkin and Laura Sorkin. The Sorkins started Runamok Maple in 2010 on their 80 acre property in Fairfield. They tap over 2000 maple trees on their land to produce their award-winning, organic maple syrup. Runamok Maple is known for its innovative maple syrup flavors like Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged and Maple Infused with Hops. The Sorkins are dedicated to sustainable and ethical maple syrup production.

Vermont is famous for its maple syrup production. The state leads the United States in maple syrup output, producing over 2 million gallons annually. With its rolling hills and sugar maple forests, Vermont offers ideal conditions for making high quality maple syrup. The maple season typically runs from late February through April in Vermont when sugar makers tap maple trees and boil the sap into sweet maple syrup.

One of the standout maple syrup producers in Vermont is Runamok Maple, owned and operated by Eric and Laura Sorkin. Runamok Maple is located in the scenic town of Fairfield in northwestern Vermont. The Sorkins have built Runamok into an award-winning maple brand recognized for its organic certification, unique flavors, and ethical business practices.

About Runamok Maple

Eric and Laura Sorkin founded Runamok Maple in 2010 on their 80 acre property in Fairfield, Vermont. The land is forested with over 2000 maple trees that the Sorkins tap each season to produce their maple syrup. The property has been in Laura’s family for generations and the Sorkins are dedicated to sustaining the land.

The name Runamok refers to the uncontrolled flow of maple sap from the trees during the height of sugaring season. It takes 40 gallons of maple sap to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup. At Runamok, the sap freely runs from the trees into buckets or tubing during the maple season.

In its first year, Runamok Maple produced just 80 gallons of maple syrup. Over the past decade, the Sorkins have expanded production to over 2000 gallons per year. They built a state-of-the-art sugarhouse on their property to produce, bottle, and distribute their maple syrup.

The Sorkins didn’t have any background in maple sugaring before starting Runamok. Eric worked in the specialty food and coffee business while Laura was a sustainability consultant. Through mentors, research, and hands-on experience, they taught themselves the art of making maple syrup. Their curiosity and experiments with the maple process led them to develop some of the unique flavored syrups that Runamok has become known for.

Organic and Sustainable Production

Runamok Maple achieved organic certification in 2016 after years of effort by the Sorkins. They manage their forest and sugarbush sustainably to meet organic standards. This includes not using synthetic pesticides or fertilizers and utilizing sustainable tapping practices.

The Sorkins also minimize waste in their maple production. They reuse plastic sap buckets year after year and sell wood from land thinning as firewood. Extra maple sap gets turned into vinegar, maple sugar, and beer crafted in collaboration with local brewers. Runamok’s organic practices combined with innovation earned them the Sustainability Award from the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association in 2017.

Specialty Maple Syrup Offerings

While Runamok Maple produces a robust lineup of traditional maple syrups, they are best known for their specialty flavors. Some of their unique offerings include:

  • Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged – Maple syrup aged in charred American Oak bourbon barrels, which imparts a smoky caramel flavor.
  • Maple Infused with Hops -Hints of citrus and pine from whole cone hops complement the maple.
  • Maple Naturally Dried with Blueberries – Sweet berries balance the maple’s richness.
  • Maple Cinnamon Infused – Warm cinnamon spice livens up this syrup.

The Sorkins source ingredients like hops, berries, and barrels from local Vermont producers. Their innovative flavors have earned them acclaim, including a Sofi Gold Award for their Blueberry Maple Syrup in 2016. Food lovers have embraced the unique tastes Runamok has introduced to maple syrup.

Where is Runamok Maple located?

Runamok Maple is produced at Eric and Laura Sorkin’s 80 acre property in the rural town of Fairfield, Vermont. Fairfield is located in Franklin County in northwestern Vermont near the Canadian border.

Some key facts about Fairfield, Vermont:

  • Population: 1,891 (2020 Census)
  • Area: 36 square miles
  • Nearest major city: Burlington, VT (approx. 40 miles south)
  • County: Franklin
  • Founded: 1792

Fairfield is a small rural town with strong agricultural roots. Dairy farms, livestock farms, and maple sugarbushes dot the landscape. The Green Mountains and nearby Lake Champlain provide gorgeous scenery.

The town is perhaps best known for the natural stone quarries that have operated there since the 19th century. E.L Smith Quarry and Rock of Ages Quarry produce granite that has been used in memorials, civic buildings, and infrastructure across the United States.

While quaint and remote, Fairfield is conveniently located near major Vermont highways for distributing maple syrup. Runamok’s proximity just a short drive from Burlington, Montpelier, and the I-89 corridor makes it accessible to Vermonters and visitors alike.

Runamok’s Sugarhouse

The Sorkins built Runamok’s state-of-the-art sugarhouse on their Fairfield property in 2013. It serves as the hub for maple syrup production as well as bottling and distribution. The timber frame sugarhouse complement Vermont’s natural environment and draws visitors to see maple syrup being made firsthand.

Inside the sugarhouse is a commercial evaporator where sap gets boiled into syrup. There are also holding tanks for storing sap and finishing syrup. A unique architectural feature is the clerestory windows that allow ample daylight into the workspace.

Attached to the sugarhouse is a packing room where the maple syrup gets filtered, graded, bottled, and packaged. Some of the maple goes into cans and bottles for retail while the rest gets packaged in drums for bulk sales. Visitors can watch staff bottling and labeling maple products through glass viewing windows in the packing room.

The sugarhouse also has a small shop where people can purchase Runamok Maple products directly. There is a tasting bar for sampling their array of syrups. Outside there are trails visitors can walk through the maple forest and see tap lines and collection tanks.

How Is Runamok Maple Syrup Produced?

Runamok Maple uses time-honored techniques paired with modern technology to produce their maple syrup. Here are the key steps in their maple sugaring process:

1. Tapping the Maple Trees

The maple season starts by tapping maple trees to collect the sap. The Sorkins tap over 2000 maple trees on their property. Tapping begins in late February or early March when temperatures are above freezing during the day and below freezing at night. This fluctuation creates pressure that draws sap out of the tree.

Small taps and plastic tubing are inserted into the maple trunks to extract the sap. The sap flows through the tubing downhill using gravity into storage tanks. No pumps are required to collect the maple water.

Runamok Maple follows sustainable tapping guidelines to minimize impact on the trees. Trees are not tapped unless they are at least 10 inches in diameter. Taps are spread out around the maple to avoid over-tapping a single area. Trees being tapped get rested in alternating years.

2. Collecting and Storing the Sap

Maple trees produce an average of 10 gallons of sap per season. The sap runs for 4-6 weeks in the early spring. Runamok collects 15,000-20,000 gallons of sap annually.

The sap flows from the taps down into tubing and into storage tanks around the sugarbush. Runamok has 14 large holding tanks to collect sap from different maple blocks. Keeping sap chilled to 40°F or below until processing helps retain quality.

3. Boiling and Evaporating the Sap

It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup. The high water content needs to be evaporated through boiling. Runamok uses a modern continuous flow evaporator inside their sugarhouse.

The sap is boiled at precise temperatures and under vacuum pressure. As water evaporates, the sugar content concentration rises. Eventually the syrup reaches a sugar level of 66-67% to become pure maple syrup.

The boiling process is closely monitored to ensure correct sugar densities are achieved for each grade of syrup. Defoamers are sometimes used to prevent boiling sap from overflowing. At the end, the syrup should have a thickness like molasses.

4. Filtering and Grading

Freshly boiled maple syrup contains minerals and sugars that need to be filtered out. Runamok filters all their syrup through a pressurized sand filter to remove precipitates. Pre-filters like microfiber bags may also be used.

Filtered syrup gets graded based on color. Lighter colors come from sap collected earlier in the season. Darker late-season syrup has a stronger maple flavor. Grades are:

  • Golden Color/Delicate Taste
  • Amber Color/Rich Taste
  • Dark Color/Robust Taste
  • Very Dark Color/Strong Taste

Runamok produces syrup across all color grades depending on the time of year. Each has its own unique maple attributes.

5. Bottling and Packaging

With the syrup filtered and graded, it moves to the adjacent packing facility. Here the maple goes into retail packaging like glass jugs and food-safe cans. Customers can find Runamok’s packaging has an Old World style with modern design touches.

Much of the maple is also packaged into large plastic containers and barrels for bulk sales. These are shipped to food manufacturers or other maple packers for re-distribution.

Proper bottling inhibits mold growth and prevents light damage. Filled containers get sealed, labeled, and boxed up for shipping. Bottling can be customized based on the needs of Runamok’s clients.

6. Distribution and Sales

Maple syrup production is very seasonal, so sales are important to sustain operations year-round. Runamok sells maple at the sugarhouse, through their website, and works with distributors to get their products in stores across the U.S.

The highest percentage of sales occur in the first quarter following maple season when supplies are highest. Retail sales directly to consumers provide important revenue at this time of year.

Foodservice sales ramp up towards the end of year when maple stocks start to run lower. Runamok also exports maple internationally to reach strategic markets like Europe and Asia.


Runamok Maple has become one of the premiere maple brands in Vermont through quality and innovation. Their passion for the maple craft shines through in the syrup’s purity of flavor. Starting with the sustainable management of their sugar maple forest in Fairfield, each step of their maple sugaring process is focused on producing the best tasting syrup possible.

Maple syrup is quintessential taste of Vermont. Thanks to stewards like Runamok Maple, this beloved tradition will continue and evolve for generations to come. The next time you pour maple syrup over a stack of pancakes, take a moment to appreciate the natural artistry behind maple sugaring.

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