The Sugar Season

The Sugar Season

Regular price $24.99
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A year in the life of one New England family as they work to preserve an ancient, lucrative, and threatened agricultural art--the sweetest harvest, maple syrup . . .

How has one of America's oldest agricultural crafts evolved from a quaint enterprise with "sugar parties" and the delicacy "sugar on snow" to a modern industry?

At a sugarhouse owned by maple syrup entrepreneur Bruce Bascom, 80,000 gallons of sap are processed daily during winter's end. In The Sugar Season, Douglas Whynott follows Bascom through one tumultuous season, taking us deep into the sugarbush, where sunlight and sap are intimately related and the sound of the taps gives the woods a rhythm and a ring. Along the way, he reveals the inner workings of the multimillion-dollar maple sugar industry. Make no mistake, it's big business -- complete with a Maple Hall of Fame, a black market, a major syrup heist monitored by Homeland Security, a Canadian organization called The Federation, and a Global Strategic Reserve that's comparable to OPEC (fitting, since a barrel of maple syrup is worth more than a barrel of oil).

Whynott brings us to sugarhouses, were we learn the myriad subtle flavors of syrup and how it's assigned a grade. He examines the unusual biology of the maple tree that makes syrup possible and explores the maples' -- and the industry's -- chances for survival, highlighting a hot-button issue: how global warming is threatening our food supply. Experts predict that, by the end of this century, maple syrup production in the United States may suffer a drastic decline.

As buckets and wooden spouts give way to vacuum pumps and tubing, we see that even the best technology can't overcome warm nights in the middle of a season--and that only determined men like Bascom can continue to make a sweet like off of rugged land.

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handcrafted and curated right here in Upstate NY

All of our leather goods are handmade by The Local Branch out of our Upstate NY homestead workshop, which is just 7 miles from our brick + mortar shop in the charming Finger Lakes village of Skaneateles NY.

We started our leather working journey as transplants to Northern CA from Upstate NY in our early twenties. It was 2009, and hunting for a creative job seemed near impossible during the recession - so we started our own thing, and called it The Local Branch. With very little resources at first, we dabbled in leather working using scrap pieces of hides and a found-on-the-side-of-the-road sewing machine. The very first piece Blaine created was a leather holster, made for his phone and wallet. From there our leather working journey began.

At the same time we began printing apparel with a focus on nature, travel and American history. We stretched our own screens, painting each design by hand and lovingly printed every piece ourselves - a process which is very true to form today. We source all of our blank apparel items in the USA, which has always been our beacon for our brand.

We eventually decided to take this hobby brand into our full time venture. We renovated an Airstream trailer and turned it into our mobile workshop, touring America full time for over two years. We sold our goods at festivals, craft shows and online, as well as wholesale to many shops throughout the USA, Canada and Japan. After landing some of our goods in a few major retailers, we decided to slow down and keep the ethos and vision for the brand to small, local and handcrafted.

Still today Blaine and Mackenzie steer the ship - keeping everything small + handcrafted.

Handcrafted Leather Goods

Shop our assortment of leather goods, made by us in our Upstate NY workshop

Screenprinted Apparel

Each design is handpainted and printed by us on USA made apparel

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