By LeRae Haynes –
From the beautiful pristine wilderness of Horsefly, BC come natural, refreshing beverages with enormous health benefits, thanks to 52° North, a small, insightful company with vision and commitment providing a health drink with detoxifying and revitalizing properties.
52° North co-owner Sarah Wall said birch sap, or birch water, is the first project they’ve launched. “There is one unflavoured version and raspberry and mint flavoured,” she explained. “We’re currently working on another exciting product to be launched soon.”
The other two owners are Gerry Mitzel and Ron Kindrik.
Mitzel, who is from Horsefly, taps the birch trees for 52° North. His wife grew up drinking birch water in Russia—it has been consumed for centuries in northern Europe.“He tapped it for her here, and began looking around for someone to help him commercialize it,” said Wall.
“Some people told him he was crazy. He came in here and I guess we’re a little crazy, too. We loved the taste and research showed great opportunity for health benefits.”
Birch water is not industry or trend-driven, said Wall, but a traditional, historical, natural product.
The sap is harvested in the spring in its purest form; at the end of winter the Canadian birch trees are gently tapped to produce naturally organic, refreshing sap.
With trace minerals, which include potassium, zinc, and magnesium, and naturally occurring electrolytes, the non-GMO birch water is perfect for fitness training or simply casual refreshment. In addition, birch water contains natural antioxidants and phyto-chemicals like saponin, which is known to help reduce cholesterol and boost the immune system.
The name came because the birch water is harvested at 52° degrees north.
“Our product is 2 grams of naturally-occurring sugar in a serving,” said Wall.“Each pouch contains some protein, trace minerals, anti-oxidants, and plant chemicals. These vital chemicals are very exciting in terms of health benefits.”
She added that this drink is night and day different from energy drinks or sports drinks. “Their intention is to give a burst of energy and maybe rehydrate. Birch water is a holistic approach, offering true health benefits. It’s not a quick fix or a quick burst of energy,” she said. “It offers hydration and natural electrolytes.”
52° North supplies a range of pro sports teams with birch water as a hydrator.
“There’s a huge coconut water industry, but no coconuts growing here,” she said. “Coconut water isn’t environmentally sustainable. We have a responsibility and an opportunity to see what grows in our own back yard. There have to be products here that meet our needs, rather than going halfway across the world. We need to ask how we can support our communities, and have sustainable practices here in BC that include keeping our forests upright.”
The feedback has been great, both here and in Asia, said Wall. “Asian consumers are passionate about products that offer health benefits. I think it’s fantastic! I use it as a beverage and also apply it as a toner under my moisturizer. A lot of cosmetic companies are moving toward it as a health and beauty benefit,” she added.
“In addition, we offer the pristine beauty of the BC wilderness being protected.”
For more information, visit www.52north.ca, or contact the company on Instagram and Twitter @tapinto52north. You can order 52° North birch water beverages from the company’s website, or find 52° North products in Williams Lake at Concrete Fitness, Bean Counter Bistro, Super Save gas station, Best Buy Propane, Handi- Mart, Sta-Well Health Foods, Smashin Smoothies, Cariboo Growers Co-op. In Horsefly it can be found at Clarks General Store, Horsefly Hardware, and Horsefly Gas Station and in 100 Mile House at Chartreuse Moose, Higher Ground, and the 108 Mile Super market.
LeRae Haynes is a freelance writer, song writer, community co-ordinator for Success by 6, member of Perfect Match dance band, and instigator of lots of music with kids.