Specialty Food Magazine

WINTER 2015

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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giving back Success has come quickly for this for- ward-thinking operation. The Tonewood line includes a variety of maple syrup grades as well as maple in cube, cream, f lake, seasoning, and wafer forms. Products are single-sourced, unblended, and free of additives. And a few have already gar- nered recognition from the Specialty Food Association's sofi Awards, Martha Stewart's American Made competition, and more. Of equal importance to Ross is her dedication to preserving maple production by fund- ing climate-change research and sustainable forest stewardship. By choosing Vermont— the epicenter in the U.S. for maple produc- tion—as her home and her business' base, Ross is poised to keep the sugaring industry strong while providing high-quality maple products for years to come. Give and Take… Ross brought passion and business savvy to the table when starting Tonewood. "As kids, we were surrounded by maple," she says. "As a Canadian, it's our life blood." Supporting that sentiment, the busi- ness revolves around an inventive tree- adoption project, run much like a commu- nity-supported agriculture program. The adopter receives a series of three packages over the course of a year from the bounty of the adopted tree, including a Four Grade Collection of syrup, Tonewood 's Sweet Pairing of maple wafers and a maple cube, and an adoption certificate with a photo of the tree. "It was the core concept that the com- pany was built upon," says Ross. "I discov- ered that olive trees in Italy can be adopted and thought it was a great idea to focus on our maple trees and support maple produc- tion and our local sugar makers." To date, the company has received several hundred adoption orders. While the program is pro- moted primarily online, retailers can feature tree adoption opportunities in-store as well. Ross looks back fondly on her 15 years in marketing for Gillette, but it was rais- ing her children that gave her the ability to navigate a small business so well, giving her the skills to multitask and address issues swiftly. "Both women that work with me are in similar positions, each having two or three children, and it's the best job training there is," she asserts. The core team comprises her- self, Camilla Behn, and Charlotte Robinson. Others help out when the need arises, like her husband, three kids, local friends, and neighbors. "We also use local sugar makers around the state to produce our solid forms of maple like the maple cubes, maple cream, maple wafers, and maple seasoning." Supporting Sugarers… Tonewood's products are the direct result of the exper- tise of its partner sugar makers, whose families have been sugaring for six gen- erations. Sustainably supporting these arti- sans goes into every aspect of the company. "Sustainability is based on a simple principle whereby everything that we need for our The business revolves around an inventive tree-adoption project, run much like a community-supported agriculture program. The adopter receives a series of three packages over the course of a year from the bounty of the adopted tree. 76 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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