What makes maple syrup organic?
Updated: Jun 21, 2019
Is all maple syrup organic?
All maple syrup is not organic, even though it is a natural product and is harvested from wild maple trees. To be certified organic, maple producers must follow sustainable practices across all aspects of their production. These include the way that maple trees are grown, how sap is transported and processed, how the land is managed, as well as how syrup is packaged and stored.
What determines if maple syrup is organic or not?
Whether or not it is organic, maple syrup is made the same way. You can read our post/ watch our videos on how maple syrup is made (Part 1) and (Part 2). However, organic producers must adhere to a set of standards laid out by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which ensure that farmers operate with long-term sustainability in mind in order to be certified organic.
Specifically, organic producers must foster the cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity in the maple syrup production process.
How are maple syrup producers certified organic?
To be certified organic, a certifying agency must inspect the entire maple syrup production process annually. In Vermont, Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF), an agency certified by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), reviews the maple syrup farm and gives approval for certification.
During the certification process, producers are evaluated across various areas. Some of these include:
Do you have an approved forest management plan? You might wonder how a forest management plan is related to whether or not the syrup on your kitchen table is organic. But the way a forest is managed – for example, how often trees are thinned – determines the long-term health of the entire forest ecosystem, which includes maple trees! When our organic inspector reviews our forest management plan, they check to make sure we’re providing a quality habitat for wildlife and promoting biodiversity in our sugarbush.
Do you follow the appropriate guidelines for tapping your trees Tapping a tree can impact the tree’s lifespan, ability to grow, and vulnerability to disease. That’s why it’s important to follow specific tapping guidelines to help maintain a healthy and happy sugarbush. We follow the guidelines set out by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) when tapping our 11,000 trees, which include: (1) limitations on tapping trees under a certain diameter, (2) restrictions on putting new taps too close to last year’s hole, and (3) the number of taps allowed per tree.
Do you use organic defoamers when boiling the sap? All sugarmakers use a defoamer when boiling their sap into syrup in order to decrease foam in the evaporator. Common defoamers include milk products such as cream or butter, synthetic chemical-based defoamers, and various vegetable oils. We use certified organic safflower oil to defoam our syrup.
Do any unsafe materials come into contact with your product To be certified organic, maple producers must demonstrate that they do not allow any unsafe chemical contaminants to touch the end product (maple syrup) during any step of the production process. For instance, all product is required to be stored in stainless steal – sap in tanks, and syrup in drums. When cleaning equipment, organic producers must use potable water and organic soaps.
Have you conducted an inspection each year? Certifying agencies must conduct an inspection of your maple syrup farm on an annual basis in order to ensure you’re abiding by all organic production standards. Sometimes these guidelines are updated, so it is important to ensure that producers remain compliant with any changes.
Is Baird Farm’s maple syrup organic?
All of our pure syrup is 100% certified organic. We have been certified by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) and approved by the USDA.