Maple Syrup Meme’s and Why We Love Them

The winters are long here in Vermont.  Very long.  We find meme’s of all kinds funny, but maple syrup meme’s and t-shirts we find punch drunk kind of funny.  As I said the winters are long….

Why Maple Syrup Meme’s

I was going to write a post about maple recipes, how syrup is good for you, how we make it here on our 5th generation farm, blah, blah, blah, but then decided that I would just show you meme’s instead.  It’s not that I’m lazy or anything, it’s just that all these Pure Vermont Maple Syrup websites are exactly the same, and I want to be different.

Please enjoy, and if you happen to find a meme that I didn’t include below let me know! I’ll be sure to share it.

Ordering Maple Syrup

If you have any problems ordering maple syrup email me and I’ll be glad to help.

2016 Syrup Now Available!

That’s right it’s that time of year again.  The time when the trees are ready to give up their sap, so that we can make delicious Vermont Organic Maple Syrup.  2016 is proving to be a very interesting year in the sugarwooods.  With very little snow, and cold the trees, and as a result sugar makers are confused about whether this will be the worst year ever or an average year.  We’re always hopefully this will be the year we blow all of our records out of the water, but it doesn’t seem like it will be.  Never-the-less we’re so glad to be sugaring.   For those of you that know little to nothing about making syrup here’s a little breakdown of how it all works.

The trees, both hard and soft maple, are tapped using Spiles.  You’ll often here Spiles referred to as Spouts or Taps, but they’re called Spiles.   It’s not like I have a problem calling them those other things, it’s just wrong and who wants to be wrong,  right?!  (No worries fellow sugar makers, it’s all in jest – mostly.  You call “them” spiles whatever you like).  Anyway, as I was saying, The trees are tapped by my husband and I along with our 4 kids and one very helpful neighbor in late January, early February.  It’s when the trees are usually frozen and there’s little chance they’ll thaw out and refreeze which could create cracks in the trees.  The trees survive this splitting, but I would prefer to keep stress on the low side for them.  We use drills and special bits to create the hole for the spiles.

Enjoy the following photo tutorial:

Drills

Drills  and bits look like this

When we tap a tree we only drill through the sapwood of the tree. Hence the name “sap”.  The tap hole is set 3 inches in, and tilted slightly upward to aid in catching the sap.  We never tap the heartwood of the tree.  For one it would be totally useless for us to do so.  We’d get no sap at all, and for our efforts the tree would eventually die.  We certainly don’t want that!

Maple tree tapping 101
How tapping looks inside the tree.

 

Spiles

Spiles can look like this, but I’ll be the first to admit that this is an incomplete list. There are several types and styles all claiming to do one thing or another.  We use what is called the health spout which is pictured first below.

Buckets

At this point you attach the receptacle that you want to catch the sap with. You can use anything!  I’m not kidding!   Check these out!

 

But this is by far the best receptacle

The best receptacle ever!
The good ol’ tongue catch.

 

Sugar Rigs

After catching all the sap, and it takes so very much, (48 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup), you have to boil most of the water out of it.  It comes in to the sugarhouse at 1-2% sugar.  In order for it to be legally called Vermont Maple Syrup we must get that sugar content up to 66%.  This means we do a lot of boiling to accomplish this.  Most of this boiling has to take place at night since we’re busy during the day collecting the sap from the woods.  The tool we use to boil the sap is called a Rig.  They come in several shapes and sizes.

If you wanted to try this at home you could do it this way, but I’ll warn you it will take a long time and if you have wallpaper you can kiss it goodbye.  Steam is not a friend to wallpaper of any kind.

Boiling Maple Syrup

 

Well That’s it.  It takes several long hours, (usually at night), of boiling the sap to make syrup.  Mother Nature only allows us to gather syrup at a specific time of the year; spring.  Our sugaring season can run from 3-6 weeks and that’s it.  We have to make our entire crop in that short amount of time, so we are usually exhausted, sleep deprived, and as a result punch drunk.

But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just for fun

Just in case you have more time to kill here’s a very funny 13 minute video about what you can do if you think you’d like to make maple syrup at home to save money.  I enjoyed it, and I hope you do to.

 

A NEW LOOK, AND A FRESH START

Hi Everyone!  I’m so excited about our new look and fresh start.  For those of you who don’t know us, we’re a 5th generation Maple & Dairy Farm in the beautiful state of Vermont.  My husband and I raise our 4 children on our rolling 300 acre sustainably organic farm.  We pride ourselves on working hard and preserving land for the next generation.  For our returning friends – This is our new website!  I’ve simplified things, so that I can get you, your favorite maple product without interruption or delay.  You really are the greatest, dear friends… My heart is warmed by your return.

IMG_0221
Quarry Hill Farm in the 1940’s

Our 15,000 tap certified organic maple farm provides our family with plenty of exercise, time in the outdoors, snowshoeing practice, sleep depravation, a little extra money and lots of delicious maple syrup.  We are lucky enough to have the perfect blend of trees which lend to the production of maple syrup that has a  buttery flavor with hints of vanilla.  Every tree stand is different, so every producer will make syrup that has a slightly different flavor.  We just happen to like ours the best, (of course!).

Please let us know if you’d like to see something different on this new website of ours,  or if something needs to be fixed.  We’ll get right on it.  Keep an eye out for online coupons!!  The latest is “I love maple syrup!” It gives you 10% off your online order.  This offer is good until October 1, 2015, but no worries, there’s more coupons where that came from.

Thank you for stopping by!  If you do decide to order please know how thankful we are for your business.

With gratitude,

AnnMarie

Happy New Year Sale on Quarts!!

Happy New Year(Quart Sale)!

Now that Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Boxing day are all safely behind us we’re ready to ring in the new year with a brand new Happy New Year Sale on Quarts!!

I’m not much for resolutions, mostly because I’m terrible at keeping them.  I’ve certainly done some damage over the years to my credit card trying to get fit by ordering thigh masters, workout tapes, ab – whatever’s, but nothing ever stuck.  I’ve also quit many a “bad” habit, or tried to I should say.  Junk food, pizza, chocolate,(really?! what was I thinking!), fatty foods, Alcohol, (<snort> should have known I’d fail at that), and probably the most insane… Bread.  I love bread, so I question my sanity when I made that particular resolution.

While thinking about those crazy exercise fads, and the contraptions that went along with them, including this crazy pull type contraption that I attached to the door which almost sent me to the hospital with a concussion.  It broke and I went flying is all you need to know.  Anyway…I thought I would share some of the vintage exercise equipment I found on the Google machine before I would get into the details of our quart sale.

Vintage Exercise Equipment

First up and maybe the most terrifying is this one called The Revolving Hammock.  My initial thought when I saw it before I realized I was oh so wrong, was ooh, laying in a hammock!  I could handle that, (picture, swaying gently back and forth in the soft breeze of a warm island get-a-way).  Apparently sipping Mai Tai’s on the beach will not get you a young spine.

Happy New Year Quart Sale/new years resolutions
Ouchie back over extender is what it should be called.

 

Ok, this one I just love and may consider breaking my no-resolutions policy for. I mean relax the pounds away?!  Yes please!  This relaxAcizor touts the benefits of looking thinner and more beautiful without the tiring, bothersome sweat that comes with actual exercise. How could that ever go wrong?!

Happy New Year Sale on Quarts/vintage exercise equipment
My kind of exercise let me tell ya!!

I had to include this one! Who isn’t reminded of the old lounge chairs that every women I know sunned themselves in and promptly fell out of. I mean if you couldn’t stay in it while laying perfectly still, how in the world would you figure we could exercise in the dang thing. What is the girl in the picture a gymnast or something!!!

Happy New Year Sale on Quarts/vintage exercise equipment
I wonder if the model survived this photo shoot. Can’t you just see her falling over and getting tangled in this contraption?

 

And this one, well I have no words… I’m thinking maybe Massage Pants just couldn’t be marketed without giggling.  Plus the man modeling these didn’t want anything under these shorts slenderized.  Just saying….

Happy New Year Sale on Quarts/Vintage exercise equipment
Massage Pants? Really?!

By now you’re probably asking yourself how you ended up reading about vintage exercise equipment when all you wanted to do is order some syrup right?! If you’d like to see more examples of crazy exercise equipment from the past check out this link. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/01/vintage-fitness-equipment-weird-past-workouts_n_913479.html Hope you enjoy it!

Now, How about those quarts of syrup:

From now until February 1, 2016 we’ll be selling our Organic Quarts of Maple Syrup for just $16.50.  AND, if that wasn’t enough; When you buy more you  save  more. One quart for $16.50, 2 quarts for 33.00, 3 quarts for $50.50!!

Have a Safe and Happy New Year

From my family to yours please have a safe and Happy New Year.  Hug those you love, appreciate what you have and above all:  FORGET THE RESOLUTIONS!!! JUST LIVE!  WOOHOO!

 

HOLIDAY BLOW OUT SALE. 15% OFF WEB & STORE WIDE!

Christmas in Vermont
Winter in Vermont doesn’t get much more beautiful.

OUR SWEETEST, MERRIEST HOLIDAY SPECIAL YET!

We try very hard to offer our delicious farm made organic products at reasonable prices throughout the year, but during the Holiday’s we feel extra generous.

It’s our Holiday Special blow out where everything on the website, (and if you’re local – in the store too!), is 15% off*. That’s a substantial savings seeing we already have some of the lowest prices on the web and in Vermont.

If there’s a maple lover in your life, spoil them with any of our organic maple syrup, made right here at our own family farm.

SHH IT’S JUST FOR FACEBOOK!!

Ok, well not exactly, but this sale was put out to all of our Facebook fans first, as they’ve been pretty awesome to us as of late.  It was just too awesome of a deal to keep isolated to Facebook , so we thought you’d enjoy the savings too.  After all, you’re pretty incredible too!!  You deserve it.

COUPON CODE

FB15.  Yep, that’s it.  FB15 is your ticket in to these awesome savings.  Simply order boat loads of product and type in FB15 in the coupon code box and reap the benefits of being in the know.  And the beauty of it is;  There’s no limit what-so-ever! Seriously!  You can use it to send 10 different family members 10 different packages and the coupon will still work perfectly.

Easy, convenient and fast these priority mailers from the USPS are the best way to send syrup that we've found.
Easy, convenient and fast these priority mailers from the USPS are the best way to send syrup that we’ve found.

SHIPPING

You will have to act quickly to receive your packages by Christmas.  The USPS does their best at getting your packages to you on time, but they will be overwhelmed soon, and I don’t want you miss out.  Even if you do miss the deadline for timely delivery it would still be worth taking advantage of these once a year savings.

  • 15% Excludes Gallons.  No worries we’ve lowered the Gallon price to $46.00 for the duration of the sale.

WHAT MAKES MAPLE SYRUP ORGANIC?

Fake maple syrup? Life is too short for that!
Life IS too short for fake maple syrup!

LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR FAKE MAPLE SYRUP!!

I don’t care whether you buy conventionally made or Organic it’s all delicious and way better than processed cane sugar.  It’s a bonus that it’s full of vitamins and minerals.  Quarry hill farm is a certified organic maple producer, and at least twice each week I get asked how that’s even possible.  I mean, isn’t ALL maple syrup organic since it comes from a tree??   The simple answer to that is no.  Just like maple syrup isn’t vegetarian or vegan unless it’s certified organic,  (read more about that below).

Producing ORGANIC maple syrup doesn’t make syrup taste any better.  The ability to do so relies heavily on how you boil, what trees you have, and Mother Nature. In fact, being organic is practically invisible if you don’t know where to look.  If you’re curious I have listed the requirements for organic certification below for your reading pleasure.  Really, what it comes down to is that we LOVE our sugar woods and would be devastated if a mistake we made caused the loss of our treasured maples.

IMPORTANT REQUIREMENTS FOR BEING CERTIFIED ORGANIC.

  • FORESTRY MANAGEMENT:  Before you can be certified organic you must have an extensive forestry plan.  The plan goes into great detail explaining everything your land needs to survive for generations to come.  It’s expensive and very time consuming, but well worth it.
  • EROSION CONTROL:  Installing good woods roads with water bars and erosion control ditches are vital to the ecological landscape of our forest.  We, as humans, want to do as little harm as possible to the delicate flora and fauna contained in our working landscape.  Unbelievable damage is done to vast acres of land by running through it with 4 wheel vehicles, trucks, horses, snowmobiles etc..  This is why taking care of any potential erosion issues is vital to maintaining a healthy forest.
  • CHEMICAL/CLEANERS:  We do not use cleaners in or on our pipe lines, tanks, or production equipment.  We clean pipe lines out by dumping the first run of sap.  The sap is an effective enough “cleaner” to get the job done.  We start boiling when the sap runs clear like water.  In addition we never use a commercial grade defoamer.  Defoamer’s have a chemical component to them Mono and Diglycerides which are not only a concern for Vegetarians and Vegans, as they do contain animal fat, but are also a synthetic component which has other applications such as antifreeze, electronic cigarettes and internal combustion fuels to name a few.  We use an organic safflower oil for defoaming purposes.  It works just as well and I feel a whole lot better about using it.
  • PRODUCTION/TAPPING PROCEDURES:  There are a few organic requirements that pertain to the way we tap trees and collect sap which set us apart from conventional maple producers.  First, we are only allowed to tap trees that are 10″ in diameter or larger.  That’s a tree that is about 50 years old and well established.  Anything smaller is believed to weaken and eventually kill the tree or at the very least make it susceptible to disease.  Second,  we have to use lower vacuum pressure.  We use vacuum to gather sap from the dips and valleys that are way too common in Vermont.  The theory is that if you use  higher PSI it could potentially dry the tap holes out and make the tree susceptible to disease.
  • INSPECTION:  We are inspected twice a year to make sure we’re doing what is required of us.  Inspectors from NOFA, (National Organic Farmers Association), sit down with us to go through our records. Then we head into the woods where random sections are checked over to ensure that we’re maintaining everything properly.  I welcome these inspections.  It’s something that never happens on conventional sugaring operations, and I’m a strong believer that we all need some oversight at times to avoid becoming lax.

If you’d like to learn more about the organization we are certified by here’s a link:  http://nofavt.org