Maple and Coffee, a Sweet Collaboration
It’s Maple April here at Equator and leading up to the month of all things maple we have had the privilege of collaborating with another local business in our community, Fulton’s Maple Syrup. After sitting down and chatting with one of the smiling faces behind the Fulton's name, we were able to learn about their fascinating history and see how they, like many other local businesses, have adapted to change during the past two years.
The Fulton’s Story
Shirley Fulton-Deugo along with 7 generations of Fultons have been residing in the Cedar Hill area between Almonte and Pakenham since the early 1800s. When asked for the story of how Fulton’s Maple Syrup came to be, Shirley shared from her family’s history,
“My ancestors came from Scotland in the 1840s. They were granted 100 acres of land, as all people were when they were trying to populate Canada. When they first came, of course, they had to build a house, clear some land, and try to make a living.”
Shirley’s ancestors learned the maple process from the Indigenous peoples (Anishinabewaki and Omàmìwininìwag [Algonquin]) who were already making maple sugar at the time. As generations passed, Shirley’s family found maple to be one of their main sources of income as their land was full of the resource. Over the years, the Fulton's have been able to run and maintain their maple business in many creative ways.
The Pancake House
Many may know the Fulton's name from their beloved pancake house which was open for over 50 years. Shirley spoke highly of the innovative spirit of her father that inspired this local gem,
“In 1969 my father, who was a very social man, found farming kind of quiet. He decided to build a Pancake House and invite people here. It was a long drive from Ottawa to get here and all of his neighbors thought he'd gone completely crazy. My dad was always an innovator, always wanting to change. So then, that first Pancake House had 12 seats, and when we closed it, it had 120.”
Shirley agreed that it is often the crazy ideas that are the best ideas.
Adapting to the New Normal
In 2021 due to the pandemic Fulton family decided to close their pancake house for good. Although this seems like a sad end to the story, in its place stands a permanent shop featuring beautiful locally made and collaborated goods. Not only that, Fulton’s has been able to open up their outdoor experience to the public offering sleigh rides in the winter, with an educator on site and so much more.
“The customers have been so supportive during COVID with online and curbside pickup, but all those are things that we had to learn to do, you know.”
This ability to innovate and adapt is something that many local businesses have had to do over the last two years and although this was not in the plans prior to the pandemic, the Fulton’s have been able to create something beautiful and meaningful out of a seemingly somber situation.
Throughout the years, Fulton’s has been bringing businesses together and making them stronger through collaboration. Shirley spoke of her love for local collaboration, connecting people, and her father’s first efforts, a collaboration with Peterson’s Ice-cream in Almonte many years ago. Fulton’s now has a long list of collaborative partners. This list includes names such as Vodkow, Hummingbird, Almonte Butcher Shop, Pakenham General Store and of course Equator Coffee. Shirley’s firm belief in the benefits of collaboration are inspiring, particularly coming out of the past few years where much of the world has been hidden away. This mindset has allowed them to move forward in strength, and help others do so as well.
“You cannot make it alone. You have to be willing to share and take risks and work with other people for sure.” - Shirley Fulton-Duego
Maple and Coffee
Obviously, we had to ask the question, why do you think maple and coffee go so well together?
“Coffee has such a rich taste, when you add another sugar you just get the coffee. But with the maple you get coffee and the maple. And I think that's what makes it so special, the two together, because the other sweeteners just sweeten it, whereas maple actually flavours it.”
After getting to know our friends at Fulton’s we can see that like maple and coffee, collaboration makes us that much sweeter and that much stronger.