Pennsylvania boasts some seriously beautiful maple sugar forests, known by maple syrup producers as “sugar bushes.” While there are over 200 registered maple syrup producers in Pennsylvania, only a handful of these PA producers and their sugar bushes are USDA-certified organic. The Lancaster Food Company is proud to bottle a truly special 100% pure maple syrup from one of them.
Unlike most conventional and organic maple syrups that are a blend of syrups from different sources and producers—based on availability and price—The Lancaster Food Company’s maple syrup is sourced exclusively from a single certified-organic sugar maple forest in northern Pennsylvania. Sourcing from one location ensures that our maple syrup offers a rich flavor derived specifically from the land where it grows, something referred to as terroir.
In addition to great flavor, it has the advantage of being certified 100% organic, which has many benefits over conventional maple syrup.
Most important, it’s about the health of the land. Organic maple syrup producers are inspected by a USDA-approved organic-certifying agent to verify that no chemicals or pesticides are ever used on the trees or anywhere in the area of the trees. Conventional maple syrup producers, on the other hand, are permitted to spray or otherwise treat the trees and surrounding areas with chemicals and pesticides.
In addition, organic maple syrup producers must maintain strict records to prove to third-party inspectors when and where each drop of organic syrup was made.
Finally, tree maintenance and tree health are always respected with enforced tapping guidelines and limits on the number of taps per tree for organic maple syrup producers. Conventional syrup producers can use as many taps as they choose, which can be detrimental to the trees.
When it comes to bottling, The Lancaster Food Company must prove to a USDA-certified third-party organic inspector that we use only approved natural cleaners and products in our certified-organic facility. We also must maintain strict standards and keep records of every point in our supply and production chain.
It’s a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that we are passionate about. When you taste the result, you’ll agree it’s worth it.
Currently, we’re bottling a magnificent grade A amber, which is delicious poured on pancakes and stirred into oatmeal, great in baking (ever have maple sticky buns?), poured into tea, used to glaze salmon, drizzled into smoothies, and we’ve been especially into ginger-vinegar-maple switchels (we’re testing our own batches of house-made organic apple cider vinegar, which we might sell in the future).
Maple syrup is part of the history of Pennsylvania and we’re proud to keep the tradition alive and healthy. What’s your favorite use of maple syrup?