#theculinaryportfolio

Liquid Gold! Documenting the creation of Maple Syrup at the Hoaglund Homestead by John Yuccas

My friends Sven and Hannah Hoaglund are two incredible people living outside of Tofte, MN who are getting serious about Maple Syrup! I was honored to get an invite to come and document their process this Spring on the North Shore.

The temperature high was around 45 degrees, with many lakes still being frozen over (I brought my kayak hoping to get some paddling in….). The sap was running fierce this year, which is a great thing for producers like the Hoaglunds. The ratio to make 1 gallon of maple syrup is 40 gallons of sap!

The process begins at the maple trees where the sap is tapped to run into either a holding bucket or directly in a main line. That leads to collecting or sending sap to a tank that holds the syrup until it is time to boil. The sap then gets to run into the boiler, where it travels toward an eventual landing pot when it has been reduced to the proper consistency.

Measurements include checking the buoyancy to ensure the precious liquid gold is ready for harvest, ensuring there is a lack of bubbles formed on top of the boiling sap (this causes the sap to stop evaporating), and ensuring the temperature continues to rise by adding more fuel to the fire. The fire has to constantly be fed wood, and the steam rises from the boiler to the top of the structure housing all of the equipment. Drops form on the ceiling until they fall. The steam was welcoming against the backdrop of very cool air temperature. It reminded me of your face being exposed outside of a hot tub mid winter.

It was awesome being able to try some maple water, which is partially reduced. If there were a tea that tasted that good, I would be ordering it a decent amount of the time. I was also ecstatic to be able to try the finished product, and to photograph it on top of some oatmeal blueberry pancakes made by my host!

I hope you enjoy the images of the process!



2018 Best of the Wurst by John Yuccas

One week ago on September 23rd, 14 restaurants competed at Sociable Cider Werks in an attempt to be named “Best of the Wurst”. A big thank you to FairVote Minnesota for putting on the event with Sociable Cider Werks, and for bringing me on to photograph.

Every vendor a did a phenomenal job, and it was clear in the reactions of every participant. Enjoy the images below!

Special thanks to all of the vendors for letting me come into your space with my camera to document your process, offerings, and participants!

Borough

New Bohemia

Lake & Irving 

France 44 Wine & Spirits

Ingebretsen's Nordic Marketplace

Union Kitchen MN

Northern Waters Smokehaus 

Cara Irish PubsKieran's Irish Pub

Domo Ramen

J. Selby's

The Bungalow Club MPLS

Pitchfork Sausage

fig + farro

Lowry Hill Meats

Sociable Cider Werks

While photographing, I also was reminded of the benefits of ranked choice voting. To learn more about ranked choice voting and FairVote Minnesota, check out their site at http://www.fairvotemn.org/

The Cooks Collaborative Dual Citizen Brewery Takeover by John Yuccas

What could be better than a pop up, at a brewery, on a beautiful day in July, that featured mouth watering pork offerings and sides? Not much. It was so much fun photographing this event: the space, food, and energy really came together to allow some great pictures to be made. 

The Cooks Collaborative took over Dual Citizen Brewery in Saint Paul this past Sunday afternoon and put on a fantastic event. Nick Vasquez and Grant Nelson offered pork sandwiches, tacos, elotes, slaw, and beans in a relaxed patio setting. Luckily, the venue also had a lot of great beer to pair with the chef's offering. 

Be sure to like Cooks Collaborative on social media to ensure you won't miss any of their future projects!

Instagram: @cookscollab

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CooksCollab/