Hickory Syrup from HickorySyrups.com

James Norton / Heavy Table
James Norton / Heavy Table

Joseph Roethig of Appleton, WI, had a simple dream: obtaining Kickstarter backing to get hickory syrup business off the ground. Through a brief but successful campaign in 2013 (aided in part by some cheerleading by our website), Roethig was able to beat his $250 goal and raise $2,100 to start making and marketing his syrup. Roethig uses the bark and nuts of the shagbark hickory tree to create a product similar in flavor (and uses) to maple or birch syrup.

We found the syrup, which is enhanced with evaporated cane juice (organic) or sugar (regular), closer in flavor and texture overall to high-grade commercial pancake syrup than the richer, stickier depth of maple syrup. Hickory syrup has a hard-to-place kick to it, though — something like a faint whisper of mint accented by a mellow nuttiness.

You can order his hickory syrup — including Apple Cider and Organic varieties — online at hickorysyrups.com. Twelve oz. of regular syrup costs $10; 12 oz. of the organic stuff costs $15.

By James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.