2015! New Syrup Grades

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The syrup is the same – the words are different – as our 8 month old standing next to me says “blah, blah, blah, blah.”  Maybe you should just stop reading now and get off the internet!

Vermont syrup has always been graded based on both color and flavor. In the
past, slight regional differences in terminology existed in the maple syrup grading system. Over the next few years, all maple syrup producers – from Canada to West Virginia
and Maine to Minnesota- will phase in the new standardized grade descriptors
found above.

It’s a marketing thing.  There is concern that consumers are confused about what syrup they are going to get with the old descriptors and also that  “Grade B” means bad.   I’m not sure if these assumptions are true.  Some would say there is a growing worry that massive increases in maple production over the last decade (basically doubled in the U.S. – with little signs of slowing in the near term) is making the big packers nervous.  As such there is a pressing concern to market all this syrup, hence, a “better” grading system.

Vermont is among the first to require these new grades – beginning in 2015.  Unfortunately in our minds, an entire existing grade (Grade A Dark Amber) is split to fit into either Amber Color with Rich Taste or Dark Color with Robust Taste.  Our opinion, is that there is quite a spectrum of flavors from the lightest Amber to the darkest Dark.  To bad people can’t get something in the middle anymore – you can always buy one of each grade and dump them together I suppose!

Ha Ha – our opinion.  They had a big listening tour for sugarmakers to weigh in and in the end the deciders spit out the exact same phrases they had initially proposed years earlier as this grade consolidation concept was first in it’s concept phase.

Pumpkin Village Foods / Green Wind Farm will continue to provide you with the same excellent syrup as before – slightly different names, but, one on the light side of Amber (great for table syrup use) and one on the dark side side of Dark (great for cooking). Make sure your store carries the one you want! In the words of an old friend – “If you’re gonna bring one, bring two.”

What’s the difference between the grades?  Well – “come on in the water’s fine”  – If you like the flavor you’re getting – good for you!  Find a producer you like and stick with them. The difference in grades simply a matter of preference… find the grade/flavor you like for different usages.  Typically though the lightest grade, does not have a strong enough flavor for most people looking for maple, and the darkest flavor should not be sold except for commercial purposes.  Why it is now being called “Grade A” is beyond me.  Makes me think of an old Tommy Boy guarantee.  

Typically lighter syrup is made earlier in the season when the weather is cooler. As the weather warms up, the sap quality declines, and the darker syrup is made. The lighter the syrup the more delicate the flavor.

There is no difference in mineral content between the gradesall you master cleansers out there – use either grade!  The variation in flavor is more batch to batch, local soil differences, or the way the syrup is actually produced.

High RO syrup is often lighter in color (and lighter in flavor).  Oh what??  You like flavor?   Make sure you find some syrup that’s been produced with care.  Luckily that’s what we’ve got for you… only 7% sugar coming out of the RO here at Green Wind Farm.  What’s an RO?  See this post.

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