Q: What is the difference in the grades?
A: Vermont State law requires that all producers follow strict grading regulations. There are three grades that we offer,, Grade A Amber Rich and Grade A Dark Robust, and Grade A Very Dark Strong. The different grades do not signify a difference in quality but rather the strength of maple flavor and color. Grade A Amber Rich is the lightest of the syrup we offer and has a light, delicate maple flavor making it good as a food topper. As the grades change, the darkness of the syrup and the maple flavor intensity increase. Grade A Very Dark Strong is the darkest and strongest maple flavor syrup we offer, making it ideal for cooking and flavoring other foods.
Q: How do you produce different grades from the same trees?
A: Many factors affect the coloration and taste (the two characteristics of the grades) of maple sugar. Temperature, water in the soil, prior growing seasons, and many factors not yet defined, can all effect how much sugar is flowing from storage in the tree’s root up to the leaf buds. For example, when there is a high sugar content in the sap we need to boil it less to achieve the correct maple syrup density. This results is a light color and maple flavor. When there is not much sugar content in the sap, we need to boil it much longer, and this concentrates the color and flavor intensity.
Q: How long does it take to make Maple Syrup?
A: Making maple syrup takes a very long time. There is a lot of work to prepare the sugar woods for collecting sap. Tubing has to be set up to allow sap to run to a centralized area, taps have to be drilled by hand into each of the 2500 trees on the property, wood has to be collected, split and stacked for the evaporator, and then boiling and bottling also takes place. Depending on the sugar content in the sap it takes up to 40 gallons of sap to create one gallon of syrup. At Talbert's Maple Farm we do all of the boiling on a wood fired evaporator and the boiling process takes several hours. Boiling usually runs for around one month depending on the weather and starts around the beginning of March, but all the other work occurs year round.
Q: How should I store my pure Vermont Syrup and how long does it last?
A: Vermont pure maple syrup has a very long shelf life. Unopened, it can be stored for up to a year in a cool dark area. Once opened, we recommend that it be stored in the refrigerator. It can be kept good in the fridge for several months. Maple syrup can also be stored in the freezer for long term storage. Pure maple syrup will not freeze.
Q: What makes Talbert's Maple Syrup Pure?
A: Talbert's Maple Syrup is 100% pure maple syrup and that means that there are no substitutes, additives, or thickening agents like other maple flavored products. Syrup substitutes are often comprised of high fructose corn syrup flavored with sotolon. We take fresh maple sap straight from the trees in Vermont, boil that down in our sugar shack and bottle it for you so you and your family have pure, natural maple syrup.
Q: Where can I buy your syrup?
A: Our syrup can be purchased online through our website, at White's Supermarkets in St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville, VT, at The Cabot Village Store in Cabot, VT, or direct from us at the farm .
Q: What else can I put syrup in or on?
A: Maple syrup is a natural brown sugar. Although it will always remain a breakfast staple, maple syrup is a versatile sweetener. We like it on the all important morning coffee, on our breakfast oatmeal, or you can use it to make your own BBQ sauce, in pulled pork or slow-cooked meats, cocktails, confectioneries, marinades and more!
How much energy does it take to make a gallon of maple syrup?
Maple sap as it comes from the tree is 98% water and 2% sugar and minerals. 42 gallons of water must be removed from the sap to make one gallon of syrup. The water is usually removed by boiling the sap until only the syrup remains. .
We use a high efficiency wood-fired evaporator and a reverse osmosis process to make our maple syrup. Reverse osmosis is a filtration process where most of the sugar and minerals are separated from the water in the sap. The concentrated sap is then boiled into syrup on the evaporator. Energy consumption is dramatically reduced to the point where in our sugarhouse we use approximately 12 cords of dry firewood to make 1000 gallon of syrup! The firewood is sustainably harvested from our maple orchard under a plan drawn up with the help of our county forester.
How do sugar maple trees make their sweet sap?
The sugar in maple sap is made during the growing season and is a product of photosynthesis. The photosynthesis process uses energy from sunlight and turns it into sugars that are used both during the growing season and stored in the tree during the dormant season.
Warming weather in the early spring causes maple trees to thaw on a warm day and freeze again at night. The freezing and thawing create negative and then positive pressure inside the tree. As the tree freezes and the tree pressure becomes negative, water is pulled from the ground through the roots and all the way to the uppermost branches of the tree where the water mixes with the stored sugar and becomes maple sap. When the tree thaws, the tree pressure becomes positive and the sap can flow into our sap collection system.
Does tapping harm the maple trees?
Taking the sap from the maple trees does very little harm. Normally we take a very small percentage of the tree’s sap, resulting in no detectable slowing of the annual growth rate. We have been tapping some of the same trees for 35 years and those trees remain healthy.
In order to take the sap from the tree, we drill a hole into it once each year. If not done properly, this can cause problems for the tree. Each tap-hole is a wound that the tree must heal. Trees heal their wounds by sealing off instead of repairing the damaged tissue. Normally, the tree seals off the tap-hole in one growing season and creates new wood to cover the hole. Until sealed off, the new hole serves as a possible access route for diseases and insects. Healthy trees can fend off infections and most insect attacks.
Maple Syrup Process
Where to Buy
Explain Grading System