Today is the very last day to sign up for the super duper mop giveaway!
Last week we discussed where to find maple syrup at a good price. In the comments, the question was brought up, “Is it important to buy organic maple syrup?”.
Recently a maple syrup farmer’s son named Travis left a comment on that post explaining why he thought buying directly from (organic) farmers is the way to go. I thought that his perspective uniquely helpful, so I wanted to bring your attention to it. Here’s his comment.
“Hi, my family’s farm makes certified organic maple syrup in Vermont. We sell it on the farm for $18 per quart (32 oz), and priority mail shipping anywhere in the US is $10 for 2 quarts.
I also sell our maple syrup in person at the Fremont Sunday Farmer’s Market in Seattle, WA where I now live ($20 per quart, or 50-75 cents per fluid ounce if you bring a refillable glass container). If any Seattleites are reading this post be sure to drop by!
For everyone else, all I can say is, if you care about the taste and quality of your maple syrup, please buy from a real farmer! It’s totally worth the extra couple of dollars. The larger companies make their money by buying barrels and barrels of the lowest grade syrups available (the batches that farmers would be embarrassed – or forbidden by law – to sell to individuals) and mixing it with just enough good syrup to meet the Grade B or Grade A standard (note that grades are based on color, not taste, although darker color almost always means stronger flavor).
If you buy your syrup from a farmer, we know that if we sell you a mediocre product, you won’t be back. Plus many of us have websites now, so you can see what kind of a farm you are supporting (a quick Google search will show organic and non-organic farms in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Maine, Pennsylvania, Michigan… and even Ebay has good deals sometimes from farmers who don’t have websites). If you’re dealing with a real farm and have any questions about the use of chemicals or why they aren’t certified organic, you can just send an email and get the farmer (or a spouse or kid) to tell you directly. Plus you’ll probably learn something about syrup – I’ve never met a sugarmaker who wouldn’t happily talk your ear off about making maple syrup on their farm.
And just to clarify on the meaning of organic in maple syrup production: Kimi is right that formaldehyde is now illegal in the US. But certified organic farms still have to adhere to stricter regulations concerning lead in equipment, types of filtering agents, and bans on chemical defoamers. And we also have to work with certified foresters to ensure the sustainable management of our forestland, promote tree health and biodiversity, and reduce erosion. Finally, organic certification is not a major hardship for small farms since the Federal government pays 75% of any certification fees, and the paperwork required is really just records farmers should be keeping anyway! We only produce 500 gallons of syrup per year on our farm, and we have been certified organic for years now.
So what’s the best deal on organic maple syrup? Know your farmer! We probably can’t beat Costco’s price most of the time, but we make a much better product, you’ll be proud to have the bottle on your shelf, and the conversation with your salesperson will almost definitely be more interesting.”
“Know your farmer…..”, always excellent advice. Thanks Travis! Your comment was very helpful.