Upper Narrows Interview
- Can you tell us about Upper Narrows? What does this place mean to you?
The Upper Narrows is not only our personal oasis, but one for many to come and enjoy and possibly learn something new! Tucked away deep in nature, surrounded by trees, one can relax and let their troubles escape. The moment you hit the road on your journey towards the "UN", your worries start to melt away. Upper Narrows Retreat has always been a place to learn, grow and try new things! We have had 2 certified apiarist, 3 certified scuba divers and now full commercial maple syrup production. We have many initiatives for the future with a Tree Farm Greenhouse in 2022, mountain bike trails 2023 and always expanding our Airbnb rentals. Upper Narrows Retreat is a place to be our best selves!
- With many projects on the go comes a million ideas that never made it. How do you know when to chase an idea?
Ideas are sparks, acting on them is when the real fire starts! The fun part of new ideas is "who can we bring in to work with?". You know a new concept really has lasting power if the interest of collaborators grows quickly and passionate people start to congregate. That being said, we do have a great advantage at the Upper Narrows Retreat, when trying to get "buy-in" from others, it's a beautiful spot to spend time!
- How did you start making your maple syrup?
Co-founder (John Criswick) of the Upper Narrows Retreat has an extreme passion for anything eco & sustainable, plus a love for maple syrup! When the property was first acquired in 2013, John looked around at the forest and thought, "we could make our own". With humble beginnings and minimal production equipment, the yield was modest, but still very delicious. John spent years trying to find the right person who would spend the coldest and muckiest months in the abundant forest collecting sap to scale the operation, but it wasn't until Mr. Boomer (Dylan) arrived in 2019, did the project really kick into high gear. From 120 trees the first year on gravity feed and 2 totes for collection to now over 1000 trees tapped, 8 totes plus a storage reservoir with a vacuum system. Mr. Boomer has many plans for future growth as well.
- It’s no secret that family is important to you! What advice would you give to others who work alongside their family/loved ones?
Mr. Boomer's sage advice, that he reminds his overthinking wife about daily, is to "be simple". Make time to call your family, play music loudly, have a pint and hug your wife & kids a lot. No big secret, just be simple.
- Describe your perfect day.
Waking up after having a karaoke party on the pool deck with all the Boomer's (GGma & GGpa too), then early morning fishing before making eggs benny for everyone. Starting up the tractor and the manulift, loading up the boys (Sylas & Blace), plus the dirt bike in the manulift bucket and have the family head into the 500 Acres. Work on the treehouse, explore the bush, start a campfire, cook weenies, and watch the sunset over the lake. Then drive back to the house at dusk. Have a big BBQ with everyone (22 of us), go for an evening swim, and rip on the lake with the boat. After that, send the kids to bed and karaoke all over again! Repeat...
- Last but not least: if we could ‘I Dream of Genie’ snap a cocktail into your hand right now, what would it be?
Oh, for sure Sherry Cask Whisky in a smoked glass, shaken with ginger honey syrup topped with Fever Tree Tonic. YUM!
Thank you to Upper Narrows for taking the time to indulge our questions, we appreciate your candid responses. Your dedication to the world around you certainly inspires us, and we can't wait to see the impact you will have on it.