GFM Network News


Al and Johanna McLauchlan operate a family-owned business north of The Pas producing birch syrup and other value-added forest-derived products.

Northern business owners share startup story

Al and Johanna McLauchlan built a successful company tapping birch trees — and consumer interest in natural foods

It all began with a half a cup. That’s how much syrup Alan and Johanna McLauchlan produced back in 2004 when they tried tapping a few birch trees for the first time. It would ultimately lead the couple, who lives about an hour’s drive north of The Pas, to found their own company and produce

Jakobi Maendel, five, loves to help gather the sap. 


Maple syrup ritual spurs childhood memories

When my sister makes maple syrup every spring, she also recreates treasured memories from my childhood

Every spring a corner of our backyard is transformed into a scene that could be from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books. Two columns of bricks create a makeshift stove, over which giant rectangular pans sit atop a steel table-like structure. Barrels of scrap hardwood, collected throughout winter at our carpenter shop especially for this,