Kasekunst was founded November 2014, preceded by a period of study and preparation. We had had thorough discussions with the scientists at the Department of Food Science and Technology, Estonian University of Life Sciences. In autumn 2014 we undertook a trip to the United States and visited the centres researching maple and birch syrup at Cornell University and the University of Vermont. Dr. Michael Farrell (The Uihlein Forest, Cornell University’s Sugar Maple Research & Education Center), one of the leading researchers and producers of birch syrup kindly shared his knowledge and also helped us to organise the whole study trip usefully. It is our credo that working with scientists and keeping up to date with new research are essential for entrepreneurial development in our field.
Maple groves are fairly sparse in Estonia, but the large birch forests here constitute a wealth not engaged with as diversely and creatively as one could. Presently the annual global production of birch syrup is only about 10, 000 litres. Birch syrup is harder to make than maple syrup, as the average sugar content of birch sap (1%) is half that of maple sap. However, the innovative modern technologies make producing tasty birch syrup possible and viable. Today most of it is made in Alaska and consumed in North America; it rarely gets to Europe at all. In terms of climate and natural environment Estonia is an excellent location to make high quality European birch syrup. The collection of sap with modern methods does not harm the trees or their habitat and is a sustainable way to draw upon natural resources. We can locally produce a versatile gourmet ingredient that can be used as a nutritious and healthy alternative to white sugar.
Heiki is our syrup master, an expert on high-tech sugaring equipment. Pressing a few buttons, he can whizz the birch sap from the forest into the cooking apparatus and turn it into different kinds of tasty birch syrup. Heiki is the first in our region to construct and make work a closed pipeline system for harvesting birch sap, building upon his experience acquired in America and adapting it to the needs of the Estonian terroir. His method enables to gather sap efficiently and avoid its pollution. Heiki is glad to offer consultation, if you are interested in the modern sap collection equipment or if you would like to make birch syrup using Leader Evaporator technology.
Piret has a long term interest in the history of agriculture and in its potential in the modern economic world; thus also her original insight that more versatile use could be made of Estonian birch forests. Piret is convinced that the local birch syrup can be used as an excellent natural sweetener, a nutritious alternative to white sugar, as well as an exciting new gourmet ingredient in its own right, able to unlock innovative culinary possibilities. Piret’s responsibilities in our enterprise are sales, marketing and public relations. She is always happy to talk about the nutritional and culinary qualities of birch sap and birch syrup, and to exchange ideas how to use them in professional or home cooking.
Ulvi has a long list of responsibilities in the enterprise, mostly falling under the rubrics *finance and *logistics. If you wish to order anything from our USA cooperation partner Leader Evaporator, please turn to Ulvi and you will receive a prompt reply. If requested, Ulvi will organise a swift and good value transportation for bulky purchases, be they syrup containers or technical equipment. In addition to that, Ulvi also coordinates the field of design and packaging at Kasekunst, and is actively involved in the area of research and development.