Latvian birch sap craze gets a high-tech upgrade

Birch sap collecting is going high-tech in Latvia

An app called E-birch alerts users

when internet-connected containers are full of sap

(SOUNDBITE) (Latvian) DEVELOPER AND CEO OF 1NCE LATVIA, JANS JELINSKIS, SAYING:"Everybody has experienced a situation when the sap flowed over the edge (of the container), or the container was in the woods and one couldn't find it. And then we thought – hey, we need to make something worthy of the 21st century, but with old traditions. This is how we came across the idea and so it was carried out."

Many Latvians ascribe healing powers to birch sap

even though experts say the vitamin and mineral content is low

(SOUNDBITE) (LATVIAN) SENIOR EXPERT AT LATVIAN INSTITUTE OF FOOD SAFETY BIOR, ELINA CIEKURE, SAYING: "We surveyed people in the study, asking why they are tapping birch sap and the most of them, 90% of respondents, replied that they tap birch sap because their grandparents and parents had done it and they’ve been tapping birch sap from an early age, often using the same tree.”

The prototype hasn’t yet been introduced to the market

but developers are working to add geolocation function to the app

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