Pure Vermont Maple Syrup

Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in Travel with Karen | 0 comments

Pure Vermont Maple Syrup

Did you know it takes approximately 40 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of syrup?  Each sugar maple tree produces an average one-quart of syrup per year. 

 “Sugar season”, as it’s referred to by Vermonters, is only 6-8 weeks, February – April.

I’m a purist, and have eschewed fake syrups, such as Aunt Jemina’s, since I was in college.  We’ve been buying Uncle Luke’s Grade A Dark Amber from Sam’s Club from the time we moved to Arkansas, and have been enjoying it rather well.  But, my daughter and I recently had the opportunity to experience true Vermont Maple syrup first hand.  I had had it only once as a young teen, and wondered if it would taste as good as I remembered.  It did.

Roughly 80% of maple syrup production comes from Canada, about 8% from Vermont, and the remainder from other states in the US.  

What makes the syrup from Vermont so special?  

Maple syrup is graded according to standards of sugar density and translucency; Vermont actually has its own grading system, with higher standards than that of the USDA.  Vermont inspectors enforce strict syrup grading regulations, and can fine producers for falsely advertising their product as maple syrup.

mapleSyrup_samplerI am fascinated by the variation in the 4 grades.
Photo courtesy of Hidden Maple Springs
From left, Vermont Fancy (equivalent to USDA Grade-A Light Amber), produced from the first-run maple sap harvested during February & March, 75% translucent, light in color with a delicate maple flavor.  Vermont Grade-A Medium (USDA Grade-A Medium Amber), a mid-season product, 60-74% translucent, slightly darker with a bit more maple flavor.  Vermont Grade-A Dark (USDA Grade-A Dark Amber), 44 to 60% translucent, slightly darker & stronger in flavor, more full bodied.  Vermont Grade-B (USDA Grade-B), a late-season product, hearty & robust, strong maple flavor, less than 44% translucent.

The good news in all this is that you, too, can enjoy sublime pure Vermont maple syrup.  In fact, you can have it delivered to your door straight from the producer.  Hidden Springs Maple Farm Store offers maple syrup from several producers in Vermont, including syrup produced from their own sugar bush, spanning over 1,000 acres in Vermont.

maple_jugs_THNaked jugs freshly bottled waiting for their label

fancy_gallons_THOne benefit to visiting the store in person:  Being able to purchase jugs with the generic label rather than the name brand label.

pancake_fancy_THMy favorite is the Fancy, I love it’s subtle, mild flavor; but my daughter prefers the Grade A Medium, shown here with pancakes served at the Norwich Inn.

This delightful, gem-like nectar is high in vitamins & minerals, particularly manganese and riboflavin, as well as antioxidants ~ truly the healthiest sweetener of all.