Beyond Maple Syrup

By Bonnie Hudspeth, Winter 2008
Portions of this text were originally published in Local Banquet Magazine

Vermont entrepreneurs are using maple sap in new ways – and waiting to see how the climate changes.

Although Vermont led all states in maple syrup production in 2006 with 460,000 gallons-more than 32 percent of the maple syrup produced in the United States-the threat of a Vermont without maple syrup is real. Tim Perkins at the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Station in Underhill has found that the sugaring season-formerly 30 days in length-has been shifting earlier in the spring by a week (on average) over the past 40 years, thereby reducing the standard season by 6 to 10%. And many sugar producers have already experienced the impact of changing weather on sap production.

But the threat to maples hasn’t stopped Vermont entrepreneurs from using maple sap in innovative ways. Here are three local businesses that have taken the maple syrup once reserved for Sunday morning pancakes and used it in variations never before imagined:

Farm of the Month: The Maple Guys

By Jan Sevene, Monadnock Localvore Project

The Maple Guys
146 Schoolhouse Rd
Lyndeborough, NH 03082
Toll-Free: 1-888-627-5349

It is a story of sweet success, because their quality products speak for themselves. What began as a backyard hobby, boiling sap in a “homemade rig,” steadily evolved into a thriving maple sugaring business-twice awarded the Carlisle Trophy for the best maple syrup in New Hampshire. Maple Guys owner Chris Pfeil, assisted by his wife Kim, and with support from part-owner Chris Schoen, continually expands product lines to better serve customers.

Along with tempting traditional maple syrup products, The Maple Guys offers customers numerous items. Informative books teach maple sugaring and candy making. Custom gift baskets are available for personal and business gift giving, and wedding guests or party goers can take home a sweet remembrance of New England in the form of a Maple Guys unique and stylish maple syrup wedding or party favor.

The Maple Guys offers maple sugaring equipment, and accessories and supplies, ranging from buckets and spouts to sugarhouses and evaporators. The Pfeils firmly believe in the need for the sugaring industry to rely more on a local, sustainable fuel source. When searching for a clean, energy efficient wood-fired evaporator to replace their aging unit, they found one that exceeded their expectations. Recently installed, it will be in production this sugaring season. This fulfills their objective to have the first clean wood-burning gasification evaporator in New Hampshire.

Give them a call, or better yet pay a visit to The Maple Guys Open House during New Hampshire Maple Weekend, March 27 & 28, 2010.  Visit their website for details, and while there, view their many products. Support a local sugarer!

Other maple sugar producers:

Boutwell’s Sugar House
Lee and Judy Sawyer
192 Main Street
Jaffrey, NH 03452

My Old Farm Pure Maple Syrup
Harold Bigelow Jr.
70 South Scofield Mountain Road
Winchester, NH 03470

Stonewall Farm
Glenn Yardley
Chesterfield Rd.
Keene, NH 03431

Stuart & John’s Sugar House
Eleanor Adams
Jct. Rtes. 12 & 63
Westmoreland, NH 03467

Webbers Sugar House
Bernard Webber
450 Dublin Road
Marlborough, NH 03455

Baked Camembert with Maple and Cranberries

From Coombs Family Farm

1/2 cup water
¼ cup maple syrup
6 oz fresh whole cranberries
Zest of one clementine
1 8-inch-diameter 32- to 36-ounce Camembert (or Brie)

Bring water and syrup to a boil in saucepan. Add cranberries and zest. Boil gently for about 7 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Cool completely and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap Camembert and cut away large circle in top rind of cheese, leaving rind on sides and bottom intact. Slice in half horizontally. Spread sauce in thin layer in between halves, and on top of cheese. Bake on baking sheet until cheese just melts, about 20 minutes.

Maple Syrup Bread

From Helen Brody, New Hampshire Farms Network

Take advantage of our liquid gold by making this delicious Maple Syrup Bread. You’ll love the crusty maple sugar topping!

1/3 cup New Hampshire maple syrup
2/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons dry milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cups of whole wheat flour
Crust topping
1-2 tablespoons maple sugar, or light brown sugar

Place maple syrup and warm water in a medium mixing bowl. Add dry milk,cbutter, yeast, and salt. Stir until dissolved. Mix in flours, a half cup at a time.cTurn dough out onto floured board and knead for about 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add more white flour one tablespoon at a time. Grease medium bowl. Put dough in bowl and turn so that the dough is greased on the top. Cover and let rise in warm place for about 45 minutes or until double in size.

Punch down dough. Turn out onto floured board and knead for 3 minutes.
Shape dough into loaf. Grease loaf pan. Put loaf in pan, cover with clean cloth and allow to rise for about 30 minutes or until double in size.

Brush the top of the loaf with water and sprinkle granulated maple sugar or
light brown sugar on top.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove loaf from pan and let cool to warm on rack.