Lots of news for the maple news roundup for November, 2022, including these major takeaways: Maple is moving west! And we don’t mean West Cornwall, Vermont! (Also, what’s a “derecho?”)
Maple out west, you say? You bet! Western Washington landowners and foresters are teaming up with University of Washington scientists to see if it’s possible to make maple syrup in the Pacific Northwest using the area’s native bigleaf maple trees. Spoiler alert: it is! But it’s not just about the coast. Researchers at The University of Idaho and Montana State University are conducting similar studies in the mountain west.
Meanwhile, back in the east and midwest, lots of maple news is coming out of indigenous communities. The Oneida Indian Nation (Central New York) adds maple syrup and cannabis production to their business portfolio, and producers of blueberries, maple syrup and sweet corn from the Pequot Tribal Nation (Coastal Connecticut) are leading the way in pushing for indigenous communities to receive more equitable training and support in the Farm Bill. The University of Wisconsin’s Horticulture Department ran a hands-on course on indigenous foodways, including spear ice fishing and maple production; the course was taught by Jon Greendeer (Ho-Chunk and Oneida), who also runs workshops for tribal community members on how to hunt, gather, preserve and cook traditional foods, including bison, deer, corn and wild rice as well as fish and maple.
The news is not as good in Ontario, where a derecho was disasterous for maple syrup operations. A “derecho?” A derecho is “a large fast-moving complex of thunderstorms with powerful straight-line winds that cause widespread destruction.” You should see the pictures!
The maple news roundup has one more vocabulary word for you: “acerum.” Made from late-season maple syrup, acerum is a spirit made from maple-and-only-maple (as in, honey is to mead as maple is to acerum). Santa, if you’re reading this right now, acerum is on my list! More new maple beverages to note: Mad River Maple by top-notch purveyors of Vermont beer Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Imperial Rye Stout from Yellowhammer Brewing coming at us from Alabama, and Maple Bourbon Cream & Cinnamon Vodka by Hard Truth down in Tennessee, if you’re in to that sort of thang!
Industry winners at the recent International Maple Conference include TimberSweet Maple Syrup of Minnesota and Boyden Brothers Maple of Wisconsin. An unrelated taste test of store-bought brands gave top honors to Runamok Maple from here in Vermont.
A final industry note: Canadian company H20 Innovations (having recently acquired Vermont-based Leader Evaporator Company) is poised to open self-serve container stores for maple syrup making supplies in Quebec that will be open 24/7 – the first innovation of its kind in the North American Maple industry!