Maple syrup is considered a kitchen and household staple. Whether it be for sweetening baked goods like cookies and cakes, topping pancakes, or adding a sweet contrasting glaze to a savory meat dish, maple syrup is versatile and delicious. With all of its uses, maple syrup remains a cooking go-to item in any household, but how can consumers make sure they get the best choice available?
Photo by Kris Radder
There’s no shortage of maple syrup substitutes. Imitation products and artificial sweeteners (also known as pancake syrups) all try to capitalize on the success of real maple syrup. Other natural sweeteners, too – honey, molasses, date and fruit jam – all try to compete with the taste and versatility of maple syrup, but we find that none come close.
Be it the undesirable textural consistency of jams and date syrup or the seemingly too-sweet and concentrated tastes of honey and molasses, many will argue that maple syrup reigns supreme over all other natural sweeteners. However, the only tricky part would be finding the best bottle of maple syrup
Where to find the best maple syrup
The best maple syrup is always comes from small, local farms. When it comes to maple syrup, quality can vary greatly depending on where it is produced and who is producing it. Usually, box name stores will carry maple syrup that cannot be pinpointed back to a single farm – or any farm for that matter! For example, take Costco’s commonly bought Kirkland maple syrup:
We know that Costco maple syrup comes from Canada and is produced from Canadian trees. However, it is actually the combined effort of multiple companies and farms that source Costco's produts, meaning consumers don’t know who is making their maple syrup.
Costco does not publicize which farms produce their maple syrup, which is unfortunate because transparency is important in the food industry. Consumers ideally should know who makes their produce, and with it their credibility, sustainability practices, and cultivation techniques, and the maple syrup industry is no different.
Not knowing who or how your syrup is produced opens the door for the possibility that you might not actually be buying what is advertised. For example, a big-name bottle of maple syrup might advertise itself as being organic, when in reality one of its sourced producers cut corners and used artificial additives instead.
This is why one common factor among the highest-quality maple syrups is that they are almost always made by small, locally-owned farms with a generational history of quality and tradition. These farms take great care in the production process, ensuring that their syrup is of the utmost quality.
What does locally-farmed maple syrup offer?
Small-farm and local maple syrup is the best in the maple syrup world. Buying from small farms will undoubtedly yield the best flavor and quality. Buying from local farms is also an excellent way to support local businesses and a generational culture of producers.
More often than not, it comes down to the knowledge handed down from generational syrup producers that will separate an average bottle of maple syrup from an amazing one. A big part of the quintessential nature of Vermont maple syrup is the local production elements. Here, maple syrup has no shortage of local producers, each with their own unique stories, legacies, and heritage. What makes Vermont producers so special is that they are typically family-owned and have been making syrup for generations, passing down their knowledge and expertise to ensure the highest quality possible.
The best taste in the maple industry
Vermont is home to many small independent producers. Here, no two producers are alike, this is why Vermonters are famous for their “craft” maple syrup. Craft maple syrup is the result of the efforts of master makers to create a unique product different from competitors. Some unique styles found in Vermont includes wood-fired, bourbon barrel-aged, old-growth, vanilla, and infused maple syrups.
Increased local competition in Vermont allows for a healthier, balanced variety of syrup available in the market. The abundance of small local and competitive producers all create an atmosphere of incentive – leading producers to create to the best of their ability.
So, if you're looking for the best maple syrup out there, it's worth seeking out these small farms and supporting their hard work and dedication to producing top-notch products.
Vermont Maple Syrup makes the best organic Vermont maple syrup, maple sugar, and maple candy you will taste. In classy, nostalgic packaging that puts Vermont first. Organic, pure small-batch maple syrup and maple sugar — tapped, collected, and made available from our 1,200-acre farm in the small town of Guilford, Vermont, USA.