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: maple industry
Everyone’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 body, freed from the shackles of gravity, celebrates by shooting a bounty of fluids into your head and sinuses. So you’ll barely be able to breathe through your nose, much less taste anything.
But once a few days go by, your body adjusts and everything goes relatively back to normal, including taste. So, as Hadfield tells us, you can still enjoy all your favorite Canadian staples: maple cookies and maple syrup in a tube, naturally. But wait—there’s also the more exotic Canadian fare such as “chocolate,” “salmon pate,” and “buffalo beef jerky.” In other words, solidified maple syrup, maple syrup in a can, and buffalo-flavored maple syrup, respectively. Bon appetit
Expecting 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 a much better season than last year.
“This past couple days, it’s been running really good,” said Gig Kierstead, who owns and operates Elmhurst Outdoors on the Kingston Peninsula.
Normally, the sap doesn’t start unit mid-March, he said.
The long-range weather forecast is also encouraging, said Kierstead.
“The only cool spell is during the weekend, which wouldn’t be a problem,” he said. “We’ll have lots of sap to boil anyway” from throughout the week.
Kierstead says cold nights and mild days are needed for a good maple syrup harvest.
“Last year, about a week from now, we had 20-degree weather, which ruined us for the season,” he said.
Unseasonably warm temperatures and floods led to a poor 2012 harvest for most producers in central and southern regions. Some producers in the Moncton area didn’t even put out taps last year.
Kierstead expects the sap will keep running for the next five weeks.
New Brunswick’s maple syrup industry is the third largest in the world and generates roughly $12 million in annual revenue for the province.
“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, which retails online for $12.99 per bottle, or essentially, $1.85 per ounce. Sure, you could get by with a few crushed-up Vivarins, a family-size jug of Aunt Jemima Butter Rich, and a balloon whisk, but the whole point of using Wired Wyatt’s — with its tweaky label emblazoned with the words “all-natural” and “energy” and Doug Funnie-on-steroids caricature — is to announce to the world that you absolutely adore caffeine. This seems to be something of a trend.
Of course, you may have heard that records of ER visits citing energy drinks have doubled since 2007, so after you uncap your Wired Wyatt’s and while you wait for your flapjacks to bubble through, consider this Wired infographic, which depicts the broad array of caffeine-themed products on the market.
There are over-the-counter “shots,” boosted drinks, nose sprays, lip balms, sodas, “water enhancers,” chewing gum, “energy sheets,” “gels,” pills, and “refreshers,” most of which are underregulated, though the fact that the FDA is investigating potential connections between energy drinks and several sudden deaths would seem to indicate that the multi-billion-dollar “energy” industry sector is about to undergo regulation, so you might as well stock up now. “Americans plow through more than 15 million pounds of powdered caffeine annually,” writes Wired, “enough to fill a freight train 2 miles long, all 270 cars loaded to the brim.” All aboard, indeed.
Canada’s federal government is hoping to improve the quality of maple syrup by funding a $1.7-million initiative to develop a special tool to test the quality of maple syrup.
For five years, Quebec’s Maple Research Centre has been developing a machine that could taste test the product.
Human taste testers try sampling an average of 250 barrels of syrup a day. These machines would do the work for them by calculating how certain compounds in the syrup react to light.
Depending on results, the new technology will determine if sugar has been added to the syrup or if there are taste defects in the batch.
Luc Lagacé, a researcher who has been developing the tool, said it will improve Canada’s reputation in the maple industry.
“We have a guarantee of quality for this product,” he said.
Most of the federal grant will be used for research to help determine the exact compounds of maple syrup.
Geneviève Béland, member of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers [FQMSP], said research shows that maple products have anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. But researchers believe the golden treat may have other health advantages.
If these benefits are discovered, the FQMSP said it would recommend using maple sugar in special diets, such as those of athletes and some diabetics.
For some maple sugar farmers, the warm winter has left a bitter taste.
February and March are typically peak months for tapping trees and collecting sap to be boiled down to make maple syrup. But the ideal season usually has cool days and nights below freezing — the kind of weather that’s been hard to come by lately.
As a result, farmers said this year’s season started early in January. In some places, trees are budding already, a usual sign the sap has turned sour and the season is done.
“We’re really at the mercy of the elements,” said Winton Pitcoff, coordinator for the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association.
Sugar makers who tapped their trees early fared reasonably well, and some even had an average year, Pitcoff said. Prices also have changed little, he said.
However, several eastern Massachusetts producers said they got significantly less syrup than usual out of this season.
“There is no comparison,” said Paul Boulanger, co-owner of Turtle Lane Maple Farm in North Andover. “Not only have I never seen a season like this, I have colleagues in the maple industry that have been doing this longer than I’ve been alive, and they’ve never seen it.”
While Boulanger and his wife are still offering tours and samples, they decided not to tap their trees at all this year.
After testing their trees in mid-February, the Boulangers found the sugar content of the sap ranged from 0.9 percent to 1.4 percent — much less than the usual 4 percent or so.
That means they would have needed dozens more gallons of sap than usual to produce a single gallon of syrup, he said.
“The math just didn’t work,” Boulanger said.
Typically, Turtle Lane produces about 100 gallons of finished syrup in a year. After a great year in 2008, the farm is still selling its reserves, Boulanger said.
The public farm at nonprofit Land’s Sake in Weston produced about 31 gallons of syrup this season, down from an average 50 gallons, said Doug Cook, education director.
The farm started tapping trees in January, about a month early, he said.
“We sort of saw it coming,” Cook said. “We just didn’t know what was going on. It was a funny winter and we were just hedging our bets.”
At Davell’s Farm in North Attleborough, co-owner Dave Cournoyer said he started maple season 2½ weeks early and ended with about 40 gallons — about half as much as a normal season.
“When the ground doesn’t freeze and we don’t have those stretches of cold nights, that seems to shorten it up,” Cournoyer said.
Sap boiling in the farm’s sugar house ended early, too, on March 11.
“This is fairly unusual,” he said. “Last year was awesome. The year before that was awful.”
The news is sweet for maple syrup producers.
Among those praising a Conservative senator’s motion to change maple syrup standards to make it harder for watered-down versions to be sold as pure are owners of Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush in the Pakenham area.
“For one thing, it’s increased the profile of maple in general, which is always a good thing,” said Fulton’s owner Shirley Deugo, following Senator Nancy Green Raine’s tabling of a motion last week that would make it more difficult for table or blended syrup to be labelled ‘pure.’
“Maple has such a great reputation and such a great flavour that everyone wants to get on the bandwagon,” said Deugo.
Raine has obviously been keeping abreast of issues faced by producers, said Deugo, as the standards are being discussed at various levels of associations in the maple industry.
“I think what she’s doing is wonderful,” said Deugo.
The new standards would help clear things up for customers, she added.
“There is some confusion of our customers between pure maple syrup and table or blended syrup,” she explained.
“People look at the label and they see the word pure but don’t realize it’s only 10 per cent pure,” said Deugo.
The proposed changes would create four classes of pure syrup, based on taste and colour.
Deugo says the changes are also in keeping with the societal trend to be more aware of where food comes from, said Deugo.
“It’s transparency, that’s what we’re looking for, and clarification for our customers,” she said.
A standardized grading system will help clear up consumer confusion, too, between syrup made in Ontario, Quebec and Vermont, which are all using slightly different systems.
The product’s state or country of origin is already required to be on the label and that won’t change.
Transitioning to the new system will not happen overnight and will certainly have a “huge impact” on producers.
“It’s going to take a lot of learning,” said Duego.
Government is hoping to start the process of introducing the changes next year, she said.
Fulton’s is gearing up for the season with several upcoming activities planned, including March Break and Easter events.
The secret to success for maple syrup producers may lie in the science of sanitation.
Simply changing taps and tubing or using special spouts could double the amount of sap seeping from New York’s maple trees, according to Cornell experts who have spent six years researching the topic.
“Taking steps to reduce the microbial contamination that occurs at the tap hole by replacing spouts and drop lines has produced substantial gains in sap production in trials at Cornell’s Arnot Research Forest and in producers’ sugarbushes,” said Stephen Childs, Cornell Maple Program director.
The buildup of bacteria and yeast inside tap holes can cause taps to dry up. Microbes can be pulled into the tapholes from old tubing when the tree develops a natural vacuum during freezing temperatures, which can suck sap back into trees. Check valve spouts can prevent this by employing small balls that roll back and forth inside the spout, blocking the flow back into the tree.
Through workshops and webinars, Childs and his colleagues are advocating sanitation techniques among New York’s maple producers. The results have been increased sap yields and expanded production for many, according to Mike Farrell, director of Cornell’s Uihlein Maple Forest in Lake Placid. The average volume of sap per tree varies from 10 to 20 gallons per tap, and it takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to produce one gallon of pure maple syrup.
New York State Maple Producers Association President Dwayne Hill credits the Cornell Maple Program for helping to boost New York’s $12.3 million maple industry.
“The research Steve Childs has done has had a huge impact on being able to tap two to three weeks earlier in the season without worrying about bacteria contaminating the tap hole,” Hill says.
Chuck Winship is one producer who has benefited. He makes more than 1,000 gallons of syrup annually at his Sugarbush Hollow farm in East Springwater, N.Y., and said Cornell sanitation techniques helped make the 2011 season the best ever for sap quantity and quality.
Winship hopes history will repeat itself in 2012. Hill agrees, but is hesitant to make any predictions.
“The old timers say you never get two good years back-to-back,” Hill said. “We are weather dependent. The season will be determined by what happens for a few short weeks in February and March.”
“The moderate, early, temperatures and limited snowfall this winter will allow most producers to more easily work in their sugarbushes, and I suspect we will eventually get the winter weather necessary to sweeten the sap and cause the flow,” adds Peter Smallidge, director of the Arnot Teaching and Research Forest in Van Etten, N.Y.