Our discussion tonight will be on natural sweeteners. We are delighted to welcome Joseph and Margaret-Ann Burkholder, who are the owner/farmers of Compass Winds Sorghum, based in Dayton, Virginia, outside of Harrisonberg. Sorghum can be grown either for grain or for crushing into molasses. “Sorghum moved west over the Blue Ridge with the pioneers,” says Joseph. “It was more adaptable to our climate than sugar cane, and it became the first sustainable sweetener of the frontier.”

Our other panelist is Chris Krantz who is the owner of the HT Krantz Honey Company in Frederick, Maryland.  Chris started his company with 2 hives and now has close to 400. His focus is mainly on bulk honey, package bees and honeybee queens. Their queen bee mating program is at the heart of their success.

You’ll also hear from Alex Weiss from Caledonia Spirits who provided us with our punch this evening. Alex started his journey into distilled spirits via a degree in Botany and a fierce love and respect for agriculture and the relationships humans forge with their environment. After a two year stint studying this subject in China, Alex moved to New York City and began managing sales for a grass-fed beef producer in Central NY. Eventually, Alex was approached by the founder and master beekeeper for Caledonia Spirits to come on board as a Brand Ambassador, becoming the Sales Director a year later and helping to grow the distribution footprint to 29 States and five countries.  Currently, Caledonia Spirits employs more than 40 people in Vermont and up and down the East Coast, while making a positive impact on our community and agricultural landscape.

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