Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hartford Courant: Historical Society Of Glastonbury To Host Maple Sugaring Demonstration

Hartford Courant 7:54 a.m. EST, February 22, 2013

GLASTONBURY —— It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. The Native American Indians showed the settlers how to take the sap from the maple trees to create syrup.
These are some of the facts visitors will learn as they attend the Historical Society at Glastonbury's "Maple Sugar Madness" on March 10. The event will showcase how maple syrup is made using modern tools.

The event will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Welles Shipman Ward House in South Glastonbury. Glastonbury native Mark Packard will take visitors through the maple sugar making process. Visitors will check the sugar bush – a group of maple trees - on the hill behind the house where the trees are tapped. The sap will be boiled in a large 2-foot-by-4-foot pan, on concrete blocks with a fire underneath it.

Inside the historic home, pancakes will be cooked on the open hearth using an 18th-century method with Connecticut-made sap poured on them. Admission is $3 per person and free to HSG members. The rain/snow date is March 17.

—Peter Marteka

Copyright © 2013, The Hartford Courant

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Stowe Reporter: Changes proposed for maple syrup labeling

Stowe Reporter: Changes proposed for maple syrup labeling
Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:00 pm

Would fancy grade maple syrup by any other name taste as sweet?
Vermont lawmakers are wrestling with that question as they consider whether to drop the state’s traditional maple syrup-labeling system in favor of an international one.

The change pits tradition versus a desire to be a bigger player in world markets. Vermont is the No. 1 maple syrup producer in the U.S.
Gone would be labels such as fancy, grade A medium amber and grade B. In their place would be several types sharing a grade A label, with descriptive phrases added, such as golden color and delicate taste; amber color and rich taste; dark color and robust taste; very dark color and strong taste.

The changes could be made unilaterally by the state Agency of Agriculture, but it has asked for backing in the form of a legislative resolution.
The state Senate last week passed the measure and sent it to the House.

Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, initially argued against the measure before reluctantly going along, saying he was mollified by assurances that the changes would be phased in over three years and that producers wouldn’t have to throw out containers already printed with the existing labels.
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New York State Maple Syrup Production Increase May Threaten Quebec’s Stranglehold on Global Supply

Quebec’s dominance in the global supply of maple syrup could be threatened by New York State’s rapidly expanding production according to Benoit Girouard, president of the Union Paysanne. Mary Ross of the Mohawk Valley Trading Company where their maple syrup is made primarily from sugar maple sap doubts that will happen anytime soon.
Utica, NY (PRWEB) February 19, 2013
The theft of maple syrup worth an estimated $18-million from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, Quebec has rocked the maple syrup industry and the investigation has spread beyond the Canadian border. Some of the stolen syrup was possibly sold to Maple Grove Farms in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, the largest packer of maple syrup in the United States.
Maple Grove has issued a statement denying any knowledge that the syrup it bought was hot, but had purchased it “in good faith with no reason to believe that it was coming from Quebec or that it may have been stolen.”
The crime and its subsequent investigation have not only exposed a well organized maple syrup black market, but may enable New York State maple syrup producers to capitalize on blowback from the federation’s authoritarian control of the industry.
According to Benoit Girouard, president of the Union Paysanne, a farmers’ union formed to dispute the province’s main agricultural union, Quebec’s effort to control maple syrup sales is backfiring. Due to the fact that Quebec’s prices for maple syrup are artificially set instead of by the free market, in addition to the added expense of the dictatorial bureaucracy, American producers can come in under them. 10 years ago, Quebec supplied 80% of the world’s maple syrup where as today, that number has dropped to about 76%.
Mr. Girouard stated that New York State is rapidly expanding production and could threaten Quebec’s dominance of the market. “Businessmen can see an opportunity, and they have realized that in Quebec, maple syrup is going to stagnate because of the system that has been implemented,” said Girouard. “For supply management to work, there have to be closed borders,” he said, but with syrup, it’s a free market everywhere but in Quebec. A study by the Régie des marchés agricoles et alimentaires released in 2012 noted that American competition “is an important preoccupation for the Quebec maple industry.”
However, Mary Ross of The Mohawk Valley Trading Company where their maple syrup is made primarily from sugar maple sap says that "New York State is quite a ways off from being any type menace to Quebec’s supremacy in the global market."
“First of all, look at the numbers;" Ross continued "Vermont is the largest producer in the United States, generating about 5.5 percent of the global supply with over 1,140,000 US gallons during the 2011 season, followed by New York with 564,000 US gallons for the same period, which is less than half of that”
“With Quebec supplying almost 80% of the global demand for maple syrup, and Vermont 5.5 percent of the global supply, I doubt that New York State maple syrup producers will be much of a threat any time soon. That is a pretty tall order to fill”.
About Maple Syrup
Next to honey, maple syrup is the most popular natural sweetener in North America and its production predates European colonization. Early Native American societies in Canada and the northeastern United States were distilling maple syrup and sugar before those geographic boundaries existed. Maple sugar is made from the controlled crystallization of maple syrup and takes several forms.There is no written record of the first syrup production but several native legends persist. Many tribes celebrated the short maple sap collection season with specific rituals.
The Native Americans collected maple sap from v-shaped notches carved into maple trees. The sap was diverted into birch bark buckets using bark or reeds. It was concentrated by placing hot stones into the buckets or by freezing the sap and removing the ice, which is composed only of water.
When Europeans reached northeastern America they adapted native techniques to make their own maple syrup. The v-shaped notches were replaced with auger-drilled holes. This practice is less damaging to the trees. Bark buckets were replaced with seamless wooden buckets carved from lumber rounds. The method of sap concentration also changed from passive to active. Large amounts of sap were collected and brought to a single area where it was boiled over fires in round cauldrons until reduced to the desired consistency. ‘Sugar shacks’ were built expressly for the purpose of sap boiling. Draft animals were often used to haul fire wood and large containers of sap for sugaring. Maple syrup was an important food additive in early America because imported cane sugar was not yet available.