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Jan 17, 2010 01:09 PM

Is all Vermont Maple the same

just short of the sap being boiled off, any huge diff. among various maple farms.
Looking to mailorder some maple syrup from vermont. There is a huge variance in pricing amongst the various farms. ....

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  1. According to this article in Vermont Living there are "four grades of maple syrup as distinguished by the Vermont Department of Agriculture, Food, & Markets". So I assume that there should be no discernible difference between the same grades:

    1. Grade B is the most flavorful, and typically the hardest to get in the US outside of the Northeast.

      Vermont syrup grading comes from a time when syrup was a substitute for sugar (as it long was, for example, for abolitionist folk who avoided molasses and sugar because they were the product of slave labor), so the highest grades were for the most neutral flavor. Nowadays, where the flavor is largely the point, Grade B is for many the most desirable.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Karl S

        Here in SoCal Trader Joe's carries Grade B, so I'll bet it's a chain-wide product. Try calling a TJ near you.

      2. Not referring to the grades but moreso amongst the farms/producers....

        1. Having had syrup from several brands/producers I would say yes, though the differences can be subtle, esp. within a certain grade. I've also noticed a connection between pricing and the packaging--cute glass bottles in small amounts are much more expensive proportionately than a big plastic jug.

          It sounds like you might want to ask for mail order reccs. Can't help you there, as I get mine from my farmer's market. Keep in mind that other states and Canada make excellent syrup as well.

          2 Replies
          1. re: dct

            You're quite right to point out that many states besides Vermont produce very good maple syrup. Everyone automatically thinks of Vermont as the maple syrup state. Vermont has capitalized on this perception by charging a premium for its syrup. You'll usually pay at least 25% more to order from a Vermont producer than one in other states.

            Not everyone agrees that Vermont trumps the competition for quality. Yankee Magazine did an extensive tastng of maple syrups from all over New England a couple of years ago. They awarded the top five places to producers in New Hampshire, not Vermont. The couple responsible for Fork and Bottle, a well respected gourmet/foodie web site, says that the best maple syrup they have ever tasted comes from a producer in Pennsylvania.

            1. re: cheesemaestro

              If I didn't have such a good source here in Michigan (actually several) I would be curious to try syrups from all over the North. And this year, I am hoping to try to make my own. I carefully noted the maple trees on my mother's property and I'm going to try tapping them. I don't expect to make a lot of syrup, but I've seen a few bucket setups in town and had some made by a friend's neighbor and it was delicious--perhaps not as refined, but that's ok when you love maple like I do.

          2. I've ordered several times from Morse Farm and love their syrup