All About Real Maple Syrup

When the rising temperatures of spring get sugary sap a-flowin’, you owe it to yourself to taste the real stuff.

| April/May 2011

  • Maple Syrup
    There’s definitely nothing quite like the first taste of sweet maple syrup made with your own hands. As soon as things outside begin to thaw, you can begin collecting rich, delicious maple sap.
    PHOTO: POVY KENDAL ATCHISON
  • Maple Butter
    As soon as you get your hands on some fresh maple syrup, try turning a little bit into a wonderful spread for biscuits or toasted homemade bread.
    TIM NAUMAN PHOTOGRAPHY/WWW.TIMNAUMAN.COM

  • Maple Syrup
  • Maple Butter

If yours is among the lucky palates that have enjoyed really real maple syrup, you probably don’t need convincing to go out and get some. Not only is it richer and more nuanced than the fake stuff made of high fructose corn syrup, but indulging in it is a fabulous way to enjoy an American classic and participate in the revival of regional specialties. Pure maple syrup flavor ranges from light and delicate (Grade A Light and Medium Amber) to complex and robust (Grade A Dark Amber, Grade B).

Maple syrup production should be inherently sustainable — you tap trees, capture sap, boil it ... voilà! But not all “pure” maple syrup is purely sustainable. Organic certification guarantees that the sugar maple trees haven’t been overharvested, that no chemicals were used to manage the forest, and that no formaldehyde was used in tapping the trees (formaldehyde slows the natural closing of the tapped holes). The producers below take great care to maintain the health of their forests and their products, and all are small family farms or cooperative, farmer-owned operations. They all offer a variety of bottle sizes, ranging from about $7 for a half-pint to about $70 for a big, fat gallon (16 half-pints) of fabulous, rich, real maple syrup.

Burton’s Maplewood Farm
Medora, Ind.
812-966-2168 

Coombs Family Farms
Brattleboro, Vt.
888-266-6271



Green Wind Farm
Fairfield, Vt.
802-309-4167

The Maple Guys
Lyndeborough, N.H.
888-627-5349



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