MOUNTAIN LIFE - Ontario | Winter 2016 - page 20

The popular saying“Do stupid things faster,with
more energy” is a popular caffeinatedmantra of
coffee shops, drinkers and roasteries—but isn’t the
casewith IronwoodCoffeeCompany.This artisanal
crew focuses on specialty, organic and fair-trade
coffee.They’re alsoone of only twogroups in
Canada roasting their beans using a hand-built
wood-fired roaster.The processmay be a slower
one, but deliberately opts for patience and care.
Head roaster Harley Eden startedout at Guelph’s
Planet Bean, but creative urges promptedhim to
consider startinghis own roastery, andhe and
fiancéCandiceNewmaster took a leapof faith
in 2012by settling in“Canada’sOfficial Stone-
skippingCapital”—BigBay.Here on theBruce
Peninsula’sGeorgianBay shoreline,Harley and
Candice startedout roasting as EdaleCoffee
Company,which later became Ironwood.
Fire-roasting adds a flavour of sustainability for
Ironwood. It’s alsomuchmore affordable than
gas; heatingwithwood is a staple practice of rural
Ontario.Harley’s parents helped the two construct
their first brick roaster in the back 40of their Big
Bay property using a hammock to cool the beans.
Anewmodifiednatural gas roaster—with awood
stove inplace of the gas burners—is on itsway to
helpmeet increasingdemand.
“Wood is themost accessible fuel source in Big
Bay, asmost people exclusively heat bywood,
andwe are surrounded bywoodlots.Wewanted
our business to be as low-impact and sustainable
as possible, and part of this is tomove away
from the petroleum industry,” says Candice.
TheBigBay locationwas a bigdraw. Being
close to the bush every daymeans the owners
can interactwith their natural surroundings and
build a business that treads lightly. Ironwood
fiercely supports the fair trade system, sustainable
agriculture, organics, and the coffee farmers taking
the extra steps togrow andprocess highquality
beans.Well-grown and cared-for coffee produces
lesswaste, brings in a better price for the farmer,
and reduces the contaminationof the beans and
trees frommoulds and fungi.
“In every aspect of our businesswework tobe as
sustainable and ethical as possible, from the beans
we choose, the grower co-operativeswe support
andbuy from, to the packaging and labeling
techniqueswe use,”Candice adds.“We do the
bestwe can,we’re not perfect at it, butwe are
continually looking atwhatwe candobetter every
stepof theway.”
Fire-roasting adds a flavour
of sustainability for Ironwood
Coffee Company.
CandiceNewmaster andHarley Edenat BigBay.NELSONPHILLIPSPHOTO.
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