Frequently Asked Questions
How many taps could a tapper tap, if a tapper could tap good? (Repeat 3 times – fast)
500 on a good day with optimal weather conditions.
What is the difference in Vermont maple syrup grades?
All grades of pure Vermont maple syrup are made solely from pure maple sap, which is harvested in the spring from the sugar maple trees. Every grade is tested and drawn off the evaporator at the same density and sweetness. Generally, the lighter colored, more delicately flavored maple syrup is made earlier in the season, when the weather is colder — and darker, more flavorful grades are made later in the season, when the weather is warmer.
2015 brought new maple syrup grades in the State of Vermont so our grades are consistent with all other states and provinces with the International Grading System.
How many years does it take to grow a maple tree large enough to tap?
It takes at least forty years for a maple tree to grow before it is big enough to tap. On a good growing site, and if treated well, a maple tree can be tapped indefinitely. Some of the maple trees we tap were saplings during the Civil War.
How much sap does it take to produce one gallon of maple syrup?
In our woods, it takes between 40 and 50 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup. On average, each of our trees produces 20-25 gallons of sap per season.
How long does the maple sugaring season last?
Our sugaring season can be as short as two weeks, or as long as two months. The average is between 4-6 weeks. Warm sunny days (above 40 degrees) following frosty nights (below freezing) are ideal for sap flow.
What is the meaning and importance of the term ‘SINGLE SOURCE’?
Most pure maple syrup for sale in the U.S. was produced by a sugarmaker – somewhere in the northeastern states or in Canada. Then it is sold in a barrel to a middleman, who then sells it to a syrup packer, who sells it to a store. The term ‘SINGLE SOURCE’ means that all of our syrup was carefully produced and packaged by us. We do not buy sap, or syrup from anyone else. All of our syrup was made by us – guaranteed.
You know exactly what you are getting, who produced it, and where it came from. That, we feel is an important distinction, in this era of mass produced, mass sourced, and mass marketed food.
What is ‘Certified Organic’ – isn’t it all really organic?
Pure maple syrup is a 'wild crop' in the organic regulations, harvested and processed with sophisticated methods and equipment. It is no longer made on a commercial scale by primitive methods of heating a pan of sap with a wood fire. Sugarhouse practices have evolved toward more energy efficient and labor saving processes, involving some sophisticated equipment. This equipment needs to cleaned and maintained in a manner that protects food safety and purity. And, in order to be certified organic, these processes are inspected and documented.
Sugarbush practices have also evolved toward techniques that are less damaging to the trees and the soil. The picturesque image of teams of horses and sap buckets has been replaced by networks of plastic tubing. These networks are usually permanently installed and are suspended from the trees. Great care needs to be taken to avoid damaging the support trees. A 'wild crop' must be harvested in a manner that ensures that such harvesting will not be destructive to the environment and will sustain the growth and production of the 'wild crop'. Organic inspections of the tubing network and of tapping practices, and of road maintenance occur every year to assure that tree and soil health are protected.
In addition, accurate and strict record keeping must be maintained to document when and how much syrup was produced and where it ended up. This audit trail assures the consumer that their syrup was actually produced in accordance with good practices. So, it is not only about what materials have been applied to the sugarbush, it's about the long-term sustainable management of the sugarbush itself; implementing practices that maintain tree health and working to ensure the long-term preservation of the forest ecosystem.
Can you use maple syrup as a sugar substitute?
Yes, maple syrup can be substituted for white sugar in cooking. Use ¾ cup Hillsboro Sugarworks maple syrup for 1 cup of white sugar. Reduce liquid in recipe by 3 Tablespoons for each cup of syrup used. There is ample supply of great maple recipes today, as well as tried and true ones from generations ago. With all the health benefits of maple syrup, this is a great way to modernize those old favorites!
Should my maple syrup be refrigerated?
Yes, after you have opened your container and put it into use. Shelf life of maple syrup is indefinite if unopened whether in a jug, can or glass. However, if you have had it in your pantry or cupboard for a period of months or years, it can darken a grade. The flavor will not change. If you forget and leave your opened syrup on the shelf for a few days, it may develop a mold on the top of the jug. This is completely harmless, however if this occurs, simply skim the top and discard, reheat the syrup to a boil and then refrigerate. You may also freeze your maple syrup for long term storage.
What are the crystals that have formed in the bottom of my maple syrup jug?
They are maple sugar crystals and are harmless. Our kids liked to suck on them – very similar to rock candy from our childhoods. When syrup is stored for a long period of time in the refrigerator, maple sugar crystals may form in the bottom of the jug. Adding a tiny amount of boiling water and shaking can reconstitute the crystals and syrup.
Do you use dairy in the processing?
No, we do not. In the old days before there was the awareness of allergies, butter used to be a part of the process in defoaming the boiling syrup for most sugarmakers. We no longer follow this practice, and now use a certified organic product made from vegetable wax. It is also Vegan friendly!
I have heard there are health benefits to using maple syrup over sugar. Is this true?
Yes it is. Due to the refining process required to make white sugar, no vitamins or minerals are left in the final product. However, maple syrup contains antioxidant properties as well as a variety of trace minerals in different concentrations. It contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus sodium, potassium, and zinc. Vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B6 are also found in maple syrup.