vermont maple syrup: vermont produces of the finest maple syrup in the world.

this natural delicacy is produced under standards of quality developed over the years by sugarmakers in conjunction with the vermont legislature. the vermont maple law prohibits the use of additives or preservatives, and assures absolute purity. vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the us, producing about 37% of the total u.s. crop each year. every county in vermont produces maple syrup, with an estimated 2,000 maple producers in the state. in 2000, those producers made an estimated 460,000 gallons of maple syrup, with a value of approximately $13,340,000. known as vermont's �liquid gold,� pure vermont maple syrup is the best syrup you'll find anywhere. secrets behind vermont famous maple syrup: vermont has an ideal climate for growing sugar maple trees, an ideal climate for good sap flow, and a syrup making philosophy that�s been handed down for generations. an air of romance associated with this long established industry calls back people each year to hear the roar of the raging fire, to inhale the sweet aroma of the boiling syrup, and to enjoy the unmatched flavor of pure vermont maple syrup. forty years are required to grow a maple tree large enough to tap. a tree ten inches in diameter is considered minimum tappable size for one tap. for each additional six inches in diameter, another bucket (tap) may be added. it takes 4-5 taps to produce enough maple sap (40 gallons) to produce one gallon of syrup. the normal maple season lasts 4 to 6 weeks, sometimes starting as early as february in southern vermont and lasting into late april in northern vermont. vermont has a strictly enforced maple grading law controlling standards of density, flavor and color. the grade of maple syrup must be plainly and correctly marked on each container, along with the name and address of the producer. vermont's law requires syrup to be free from any preservatives or other additives. pure vermont maple syrup is an excellent source of organic sugar. vermont maple syrup is made into pure maple sugar, maple cream and maple candies by evaporating more water from pure maple syrup and controlling the crystallization process during cooling. vermont maple syrup production: maple syrup is made from maple sap, collected from sugar maple trees in late winter and early spring. the sap is a very dilute liquid containing from 1% to 7% sugar, varying from tree to tree and averaging around 2% sugar. a 7/16 inch hole is drilled into the tree to a depth of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches. into this is driven a spout, modified pieces of pipe from which a bucket is hung or pipeline is run. the pipeline carries the sap directly from the tree to the storage tank. to make quality maple products, the sap must be fresh and cold, which means it must be gathered and boiled often. in modern sugar orchards, small plastic tubing is attached directly to the spouts, which then flows through small plastic tubes to larger pipes directly to the storage tank, saving the labor of gathering the sap. other sugarmakers use large gathering tanks which are pulled by tractors or horses through the woods to the sugarhouse and emptied into an elevated storage tank to await boiling. from storage tanks the sap flows to the evaporator, large pans varying in size, usually about 5 feet wide to 16 feet long. evaporators have two pans - the flue pan and the syrup pan. the sap flows first to the flue pan, which has a bottom made of flues to provide a greater heating surface, and then to the flat bottomed syrup pan. the pans are divided by partitions, which creates a continual but very slow movement of sap from the point where it enters the evaporator around the many partitions and finally out as syrup.

it takes a long time for the 2% sap to be condensed by the evaporation process to the exact density of maple syrup. if cooked too thick the syrup will crystallize, and if too thin it will ferment. sugarmakers use a hydrometer to check the density. when the hydrometer settles in the liquid syrup to a mark designating the correct density, the syrup is drawn from the pan and then filtered again to remove the nitre (sugar sand) that has developed in the boiling process. from the filtering tank, the maple syrup flows into retail containers or into 35 and 50 gallon drums to be packed later. the syrup is packed hot and sealed according to vermont law.

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