Canadian Maple Syrup Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers MAPLE Act maple industry maple producers maple products maple sap maple syrup maple syrup farm maple syrup news maple syrup producer Maple Syrup Producers maple syrup production maple syrup recipe Maple Syrup Season maple syrup suppliers maple syrup workshop maple trees Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association sugaring season
March 14, 2013 By adminEveryone’s favorite Canadian astronaut/YouTube sensation is back to explain how food tastes in space. The answer: different! Sort of. As soon as you enter orbit, your Read More »
March 14, 2013 By adminExpecting better season than last year The sap at sugar bush farms in New Brunswick is flowing ahead of schedule, which has maple syrup producers expecting Read More »
March 14, 2013 By adminHADLEY, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – No plate of pancakes…or waffles… is complete without a helping of syrup. But how is this sticky goodness made? Well we Read More »
February 01, 2013 By admin“Natural maple flavor,” caffeine, butter flavoring, and invert sugar are just four of the ingredients that make up the unholiest of breakfast condiments, Wired Wyatt’s Caffeinated Syrup, Read More »
August 06, 2012 By adminWhat do glaciers, maple syrup and lobsters have in common? They’re all symptoms of global warming — the worldwide process of climate change that has become Read More »
Tag Archives: International Maple Syrup Institute
Rising maple syrup production in Vermont is sending more sugarmakers across state lines seeking new buyers for their product.
Now, sugarmakers also are looking to Montpelier as legislators debate a bill that the Vermont Maple Sugarmaker’s Association says would make Vermont syrup more marketable on national and international markets. The bill, which passed the Senate and is now in the House Agriculture Committee, would change syrup labeling laws and establish a food safety certification program for sugarmakers.
Sam Cutting Jr., owner of Ferrisburgh’s Dakin Farm and chairman of the Vermont Maple Industry Council, said the voluntary certification system in particular would help sugarmakers in Vermont stay competitive.
The new certification would be administered by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, cost producers a fee between $300 and $500 (the certification would remain valid for a number of years) and involve a safety inspection of equipment and processes at the sugarhouse. It would be primarily for those sugarmakers who sell their product to a larger-scale maple syrup packager.
“There’s a real need, because up until this year there’s been a very large (Vermont) crop,” said Cutting. “If we don’t have this type of certification, buyers may look out of state.”
Just over the border, Quebec sugarmakers already have a quality assurance certification program.
Rep. Will Stevens, I-Shoreham, said last week that he still has some questions about the certification program as it stands. He said he’s not sure about administering a certification program through the Agency of Agriculture.
“It’s already in the conflicting role of development and enforcement,” said Stevens. “I’m not sure that the ag agency is disinterested.”
But he said that it’s not a bad idea to establish a proactive certification in addition to the existing system of quality checks after the maple products have been produced.
The bill would also alter the maple grading system from the current one, established in the 1980s — fancy, Grade A medium, Grade A dark and Grade B — to one that describes flavor and appearance — Golden, Amber, Dark and Very Dark. The four would all fall within the Grade A definition.
The new grading system would bring Vermont in line with the system approved by the International Maple Syrup Institute, which has proposed these changes to regulatory agencies in the United States and Canada by the 2013 sugaring season. Stevens said the USDA has agreed to adopt the new grading system as soon as one state adopts it.
Cutting said the proposed new definitions would help clarify the different types of syrup for consumers, since they also include taste descriptors like “strong” (for Very Dark) and “delicate” (for Golden).
Stevens said a key point for him is that the old system of grading wouldn’t have to be thrown out entirely — sugarmakers would only have one more piece of information to add to their existing labels.
Some sugarmakers, said Cutting, have misgivings about conforming to an international system, and about changing an existing system that they say is perfectly good. But Cutting said this offers more clarification for those unfamiliar with syrup type.
“People wouldn’t buy Grade B meat, but that’s one of the most popular types of syrup,” said Cutting. “We need to sell our syrup all over the world, and be clear to consumers what the grades actually mean.”
Sugaring finished up weeks ago at Morse Farm in Montpelier. Now, Burr Morse and other sugar makers around Vermont are watching as a debate unfolds just down the road at the Statehouse over changing the maple grading system.
“People don’t understand fancy,” Morse said. “They say is that the grade A medium?”
There are currently four grades of maple syrup available for retail sale in Vermont. But under the proposed changes, Vermont Fancy all the way down to Grade B would be distilled into just three categories: “Golden Color, Delicate Taste,” “Amber Color, Rich Taste,” and “Dark Color/Robust Taste.” A fourth new category would be called “Very Dark Color/Strong Taste.” It would replace the current Grade C which is now only sold commercially.
The idea has been in the works for nearly a decade and was pushed by the International Maple Syrup Institute.
“Fifty years ago, Vermont had 1 million taps. It’s estimated today we have 3.3 million. There’s just so much syrup being produced, it’s not just sold within state borders. So it’s an international industry now and in order to compete in international markets, we think it’s a good idea to have a grade that’s the same, so Vermont is on a level playing field with everybody else,” said Henry Marckres of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.
The Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association Board supports the plan, but without any vote of the membership, the House Agriculture Committee took testimony to see how a handful of producers come down on the issue.
“Seemed like a simple bill– gotten a lot of attention. Great importance to a lot of people,” said Rep. Carolyn Partridge, D-Windham.
Ed Merrow, a sugar maker from Danby, came to speak out.
“Stupid, just stupid names. And you can’t tell me that any sugar maker has had anything to do with this,” Merrow said. “We’ve been trying for 20 years to educate them. Finally, pretty much they understand what they like. Now you put something else out there– we start all over again.”
The bill, which has already passed the Senate, would allow the secretary of agriculture to make the new rules. Maine, New Hampshire and New York are all considering similar measures. But the idea will only move forward if Vermont takes the lead.
Back at the Morse Farm Sugar Shack, Burr Morse says he is not passionate about the changes one way or the other.
“You know, as far as I’m concerned they can call Vermont syrup anything they want,” Morse said. “Because what it is is the world’s best syrup and– that’s what it is.”
OK, so maybe they can’t claim “world’s best” status, but Dave and Nancy Hively, of Misty Maples Sugar House in Salem, Ohio, won Best of Show honors at the annual meeting of the North American Maple Syrup Council and the International Maple Syrup Institute.
The Hivelys’ medium amber entry won its class and then went on to capture Best of Show honors — topping entries in all categories of syrup.
The Hivelys also won first place for their light amber entry, and their dark amber entry received an “excellent” rating.
The convention, held in Frankenmuth, Mich., Oct. 23-26, drew entries from several states and Canadian provinces.