Why Choose Certified Organic Maple Syrup?
Isn't All Maple Syrup Organic?
Most folks know by now that organic vegetables and meats are grown without chemicals. But when it
comes to maple syrup, many people are confused. After all, maple syrup comes from maple trees--so
isn't it already organic?
The fact is that, just like vegetable growers, maple syrup producers who want the organic label must
uphold strict standards above and beyond other producers. These standards are set by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture and are enforced by rigorous third-party inspections and record-keeping.
A. Better forests, better syrup, better planet!
Even though maple trees grow naturally in the forest, there are many areas of maple production
regulated by the organic rules:
Chemicals. Organic certification requires that no chemicals can be used in the syrup collection or
production process. That means no herbicides or pesticides on the trees and no chemicals in the process
of boiling the raw maple sap down to syrup. If land near the sugar bush is being treated with chemicals,
then strict rules create a buffer zone between that land and the forest in production.
Forest health. Certified organic producers like the co-op farmers for Maple Valley must meet high
standards of forest management. Putting too many taps in the trees or using logging to thin out forests
can damage the forest ecosystem. Organic standards address these problems, and inspectors regularly
ensure that the forest is healthy and strong.
Clean production. Turning sap into syrup requires a lot of equipment. On certified organic operations,
all this equipment must be cleaned and maintained without introducing harmful chemicals that can
show up in the syrup. Any substance that touches the equipment or is used in processing (for example,
to keep the syrup from boiling over) must be approved by the organic standards.
Dealing with the paperwork and inspections that go along with organic certification can be a chore. But
the farmers in the Maple Valley co-op see it as an opportunity not only to show their dedication to
stewardship and the health of their customers, but also to make the planet a healthy place for everyone!
Certified Organic Insures:
- No chemical usage on weed trees, roads or paths through the forests
- No lead soldered equipment in production on the farms or in the commercial kitchen facility
- Organic approved cleaning products in the bottling facility that do not leave chemical residue
- Non-chemical pest control monitoring systems (required for all processing facilities)
- A managed buffer between the maple woodlands and neighboring farms
- Responsible tapping (not over-tapping) so the tree has enough sap to grow vibrantly
- Responsible forest management (tree thinning, care of root systems under paths and roads, diversity of tree species other than maple, protection of wildlife habitat and healthy insects)
- Certified Organic vegetable oil or organic butter as a defoamer in sugar shack evaporators. Many non-organic farms use chemical defoamers, non-organic oils, butter or animal fat. Maple Valley uses only certified organic vegetable oil