Photo courtesy of Great American Things
That’s right, its that time of year. No…not when the mud covers your boots up to the ankle (but it can happen) but when the weather is just right–cold at night and warmer during the days – when that beautiful clear sap starts to flow from the maple trees.
We’ve always loved maple syrup but until we moved to Vermont, we had not idea how serious this liquid gold was to Vermonters and the state of Vermont. Vermont’s maple syrup is renowned around the world, not only for the flavor but for the quality of the syrup and everybody here is proud of that fact. Now we are honored to part of it.
So we thought we’d show a little pride ourselves and share some interesting facts and tidbits, we thought you’d enjoy, almost as much as you do the syrup itself.
It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. Think about it…better yet, we’ll give you a visual. There is about 98% water and 3% syrup in a gallon of sap, so the farmers have to spend a lot of time boiling all that water out to get to the good stuff.
We borrowed this drawing from Lochs Maple Farm.
Maple syrup is taken so seriously in Vermont that there is actually a law that states it is illegal to use the word maple in a product — unless it uses 100% pure maple in it. Oh ya! No fakes here! (They even took McDonald’s to court for that once…)
Vermont’s maple syrup is renowned around the world, not only for the flavor but for the quality of the syrup. They say it is something about the climate…works for us!
Solar Sweet Maple Farm, not only is where we get our syrup but is it run by solar panels! You have got to visit them and see how it all works!
Even though Canada produces the most maple syrup, in the states, Vermont produces 920,000 gallons a year, more than twice as much as Maine (the next state in line for production). That is a lot of sap collecting, boiling, grading and packaging. Wow! Let’s give a standing ovation to the farmers who produce this magical syrup, they deserve it! Now, the farm, Solar Sweet Maple Farm in Lincoln, Vermont, where we get our goods, is using solar power to run the sugar shack — kudos to them!
Grading (like we didn’t get enough of that at school…) well, that is a different story, literally, we mean different. As of 2014, the grading charts in Vermont have changed…see below. We figure that we’d let VermontMaple.org give you the facts, since they’re the experts. Frankly, we think this makes our interior designer, Joanne Palmisano, happy, because she is a huge fan of the darker syrup and she felt it got a bad rap. Not anymore with this new grading system.
What we really love about maple syrup is it’s a completely natural product, no preservatives or additives — so when we make our homemade granola for our inn guests (breakfast comes with our rooms) and our Maple Chicken for our dinner guests, we feel extra great!
Also, many people forgot about the great nutrients in maple syrup like potassium and calcium, vitamins, folic acid and amino acids. And maple syrup only has 40 calories per tablespoon versus corn syrup’s 60. (Take that Aunt J…)
Photo from Wikipedia
So when did all this tree tapping start? Well, it’s believed that native Americans were the first folks to produce maple syrup — by carving out an old log, placing it over a fire and pouring sap into it. Today, many maple farms use sap pumps that bring the sap through tubes straight to the evaporating storage bins, only recently moving away from the metal buckets. From carved log, to metal buckets to pump system, now that’s progress.
Want to know where to go for a pancake breakfast or to boil some sap — look no further than Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association office website!
Dakin Farm Pancake Breakfast
Pancake breakfast and making your own…these are two of our favorite things to check out in the spring. You’ll learn a lot more facts and get something tasty to eat as well. This is a Vermont favorite. Locals and tourist alike get out and hang out eating sugar on snow, pancakes and maple donuts dipped in coffee
Okay, enough talk about maple syrup, we think it is time to go have some!
Heather and Andrew