Sticky, sweet Crosby’s Molasses, a kitchen staple for 143 years
Posted on February 18, 2022 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments
Drizzled over toutons, sweetening baked beans, thickening marinades and enhancing baked goods, molasses is a kitchen staple. And for Atlantic Canadians, it has to be Crosby’s.
Crosby’s Molasses Company in Saint John, New Brunswick has been bringing the sweet treat to Atlantic Canada since the 1870s. Still operating as a family-owned business, Crosby’s provides quality products.
Importing the Sweet Stuff
The history of Crosby’s Molasses Company dates back to the 1870s when 20-year-old L.G. Crosby opened a grocery business in Yarmouth, N.S. In 1879, Crosby began trading fish and lumber in the West Indies in exchange for molasses, which he supplied to retailers across Atlantic Canada, Quebec and New England.
Years later in 1897, Crosby moved to Saint John, N.B., which remains home to the business today. Crosby’s first set-up shop on Nelson Street, but after needing more space moved to their current location on Rothesay Avenue in 1911.
Molasses is a natural sweetener with no additives or preservatives. If you look on the back of a carton of Crosby’s, you’ll find one ingredient: ‘molasses’. The product is derived from sugar cane, and Crosby’s makes three varieties: fancy, blackstrap and cooking. Fancy molasses is the highest standard, blackstrap is its darker, thicker, somewhat bitter cousin and cooking is a blend of the two.
To maintain the company’s promise of quality, Crosby’s imports its fancy product exclusively from a single source in Santa Lucia, Guatemala. Molasses is transported by boat and stored at a Crosby’s liquid bulk storage facility at the port of Saint John, shortening the supply chain and reducing their carbon footprint.
Taste of Home
Atlantic Candians have been cooking with molasses for over 200 years. For many, the rich flavour is a taste of home. Molasses can be used in a variety of recipes to add sweetness and depth, from classic gingerbread and cookies to savory salmon or chicken dishes. Of course, the Crosby’s website has a number of recipes available to feed your next molasses craving.
Here to Stay
Today, the privately-held Crosby’s Molasses Company is 120 employees strong, importing 6,000 tonnes of molasses each year. In addition to their staple Crosby’s Molasses products, the company also distributes marshmallow Fluff, drink crystals and a Grandma molasses label (in Quebec).
Commenting on the family business, fifth-generation president James Crosby said: “we are very happy that consumers continue to enjoy Crosby’s molasses, whether it is as an ingredient in a favourite recipe, or on its own with fresh bread. We believe cooking and baking are the best ways to bring family and friends together; we have witnessed consumers reconnecting with molasses as a positive result of the pandemic, and the back-to-basics movement. Our growth strategy going forward is to attract younger families to our product, so that they too can enjoy the complex flavours and sweetness of molasses for a lifetime.”
A sweet treat, here to stay after 143 years.
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