SYRUP . . . RICHES TO RAGS?
& COOKING ARTICLE
long time ago now I was contacted by Gordon Jones
of Hickoryworks Inc to ask whether I would put a link
to their Hickory
When I had a look at their website I was fascinated
by the story that was hidden amongst the web pages
- giving up the Florida sunshine and their jobs for
an unknown future. This is the brief story Gordon
has sent me - if you have any questions you will find
their web address and email address at the end of
a freak Florida ice storm littered the yard of their
Palm Beach Florida abode, crackling as they were trod
upon, Gordon Jones lamented to his wife Sherrie Yarling
that he missed the changes in the seasons that he grew
to love during his boyhood in the Northwest.
mentioned that she too missed the sight of the changing
leaves but wasnt to keen on the February chill.
She said the 64 acre lake site property in Brown County,
Indiana, that her father and some of his college buddies
had purchased while attending Indiana University, sat
fallow since her return from Europe, and no family member
had indicated any interest in building on the site.
couple started making plans to bag the business world.
Sherrie had been a paralegal aid for some seventeen
years and Gordon had (as his father-in-law said) done
just about everything - Real Estate., Publishing, Advertising,
Media Sales and the Restaurant business.
completed, the couple moved North and began clearing
a home site on the property.
to the move, Gordon had researched the possibility of
growing Shiitake mushrooms, and the latitude of the
property mirrored the climate of the region in Japan
that grew this gourmet fungi.
64 acre property had been clear cut at the turn of the
century, and there had been no stewardship since.
Ash, Hickory and Oak stands were plentiful and Gordons
research had indicated that red, black and white oak
were three of the most sought after hardwoods for the
cultivation of the shiitake.
several years of providing upscale Indianapolis restaurants
with their mushrooms, the number of logs in their run,
needed replenishing, as the inoculated logs produce
their bounty they consume the nutrients in their host
and new logs need to be inoculated and added to the
usual, the couple dropped several mature black and red
oaks on the property, and began trimming the thicker
branches and cutting them into four foot lengths.
afternoon, an elderly gentleman drove up in a vintage
pickup truck and asked if he could purchase some of
the larger logs for fire wood. The two men agreed on
a fair price and the elder gentleman returned some hours
later with his helpers, who began splitting and loading
the wood into the truck.
the two older men watched the youngsters work, the older
man walked over to a shagbark hickory tree and stripped
off a small piece of bark, stating that his Great-Great
Grandmother had made a syrup from the bark when he was
growing up in Brown County.
by the statement, Gordon thought the man must have meant
the sap from the tree, and asked the man to tell him
how it was done.
first attempt was a total disaster but fortunately the
old fellow returned some weeks later in search of more
and several failed attempts later, the old fellow took
pity on the city boy and one afternoon appeared with
an almost illegible recipe for Hickory
remembered his father telling him, When all else
fails . . . read the instructions .
the formula for
a labour of love for the couple. And when they presented
it to their shiitake mushroom customers the chefs ran
with this unique new condiment.
with designing labels, gathering bark, importing bottles
from Germany and Italy, making and ageing the Hickory
bottling, labelling the finished product and applying
the crested wax seal, plus attending four different
farm markets, the couple found that the mushroom business
was being neglected. So a local friend, who had indicated
an interest in the fungi business was recruited to oversee
the operation and start a run of his own.
now has foragers who collect bark for them ( the tree
must be seven years old before it will give up its bark)
and removing the bark does not harm the tree.
and Gordon sent a bottle of their Hickory
to Julia Child for her 85th Birthday. She responded
with a card wishing them well with there new product
and said, She liked to mix the Hickory
bourbon as a glaze on Ribs .
February of 2001 the renowned gourmet purveyor, Dean
& Deluca added the Hickory
their Web site, and Hickory
is now available in all of their stores and is featured
in their spring catalogue.
winter of 1999 was the cause of cabin fever for the
couple, and the wheels started turning.
a farm market that past summer, a doctor friend had
asked if they had ever heard of a spice bush, so they
went to the web. On a British web site that catalogued
edible flora and fauna, they found the spice bush but
that wasnt the best part of the quest. Below the
spice bush was the caption Poplar Bark (a flavouring)
Further research found that the Bark from the tulip
poplar has been used as a flavouring for spruce beer.
Not to mention a tea was made from the bark by native
Americans to treat upset stomachs, rheumatism and fevers.
expanded the use to cure coughs, snake bites, headaches
and a host of other maladies.
Some even chewed the green bark thinking it was an Aphrodisiac.
This notion may have come from feeling the effects of
a chemical found in the inner bark (hydrochlorate of
tulipiferine) an alkaloid that can stimulate the heart.
you would expect, Sherrie and Gordon now sell their
Poplar Bark Syrup to many of there Shagbark Hickory
Inc is located in Southern Indiana. The web address
Hub-UK : email@example.com