Coombs Family Farms 100% Pure Maple Candy Man - .75 oz. (21g)
Coombs Family Farms 100% Pure Maple Candy is naturally gluten free and contains only Coombs Pure Maple Syrup which is then boiled down, stirred and poured into molds for hardening. Coombs Family Farms offers three 100% Pure Maple Candies, all based on recipes from Arnold’s grandmother and made with only the finest all natural ingredients. Quite simply, it’s the finest 100% Pure Maple Candy, period! One bite of this delicious treat with its smooth creamy texture and you’ll be hooked. While it is impossible to make pure maple candy using only organic ingredients, Coombs Family Farms uses only the finest all natural ingredients.
The Craft of Sugaring
Cold, clear nights. Warm morning sun melting the snow on the ground. The first songs of birds, returning from their winter migrations. These are the sights and sounds that quicken the pulse in the sugar maker, because these are the signs that the maple sap is beginning to run.
For the most part, the craft of maple syrup production in New England has been a family affair, and dates back to the very early 1600s. Native Americans used maple syrup and sugar for food and trade and passed on their sugar making skills to early settlers.
Time To Tap
In order to produce the best maple syrup, Coombs Family Farms watches for signs to know when it is time to tap our maple trees. While the typical Vermont sugaring season begins in March and lasts from four to six weeks, there is no set time to tap maples. First and foremost, the maple farmer must be aware of the weather. The length of the winter, the amount of snowfall, and the temperature are just some of the variables that influence when the sap begins to run – and how long the run will last. To know when it’s time, you must watch for the signs.
When freezing winter days give way to the milder daytime temperatures and melting snows of spring, the sap begins to run. The best conditions for sap to begin to run are freezing nights followed by warming sunny days. After a few consecutive days and nights of these ‘cold to warm’ temperature swings, you’re ready to harvest. The annual run is over when the freezing nights end and the trees begin to bud.
A wagon full of sap buckets means the maple season has begun!
Maple farmers typically tap their trees before the sap begins to run. Drill your hole about three inches deep, two feet up from the ground on the side of the tree trunk that receives the longest exposure to sun – generally the south-facing side.
Typically, the sap is a clear, slightly sweet liquid containing about 1-4% sugar. It will take 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup. To produce the finest quality maple syrup, the sap should be evaporated as soon as possible.
As the water is boiled off, the liquid becomes sweeter and more concentrated, and begins to move towards the front of the pan. This is when the boiling sap turns golden. When it reaches 70 degrees F above water’s boiling point, it has become maple syrup. What was 98% water and 2% sugar is now 33% water and 67% sugar. The sweet-smelling steam is a sure sign that the sugar-making season is in full swing – and that you’re ready to eat!
How To Tap A Maple Tree
To tap a maple tree, you’ll need a spout, a hammer, a bucket, and a drill. Then find a sugar maple.
The sap in a sugar maple comes up from the ground, and is carried from the roots up to the branches. The roots of the tree store starch over the winter, and this starch gets converted into sugars, which are the food for the tree, and fuel the growth of leaves in the spring. Each tree produces hundreds of gallons of sap in the spring, and so taking ten or so gallons over the course of a month or so does not harm the tree in any way.
Choose a spot on the south side of the tree where the sun falls on the trunk, and look for a big root. The larger the root, the more sap will be running up the tree. Drill a hole at about waste height, going inside the tree about an inch and a half. Make sure to angle the hole slightly uphill into the tree so the sap runs down into the bucket. As soon as you drill your hole, you’ll see some sap beginning to run. Take a metal spout, and tap it into the hole with a hammer. Hang a bucket on the hook, and slide the cover on. Collect a little bit, boil it down, and you’ll enjoy fresh maple syrup with your pancakes!
What Makes A Maple Syrup Organic?
The fact is that some non-organic maple producers have used pesticides or are located near properties that do. Historically some have used defoaming agents, and other potentially harmful chemicals that can contaminate trees, soil, and groundwater – not to mention the maple that you eat. All Coombs Family Farms organic maple is certified by the Quality Assurance International (QAI), and carries the USDA organic seal. This ensures that when you choose Coombs Family Farms organic maple, the maple you pour on your pancakes or use in your favorite recipes is free of any pesticides and chemicals.
The meaning of organic maple goes deeper than that, however. Being certified organic means that our maple was harvested with more in mind than immediate, short-term gain. While pesticides and chemicals may make farming easier, organic maple production is better for the forest, better for the environment, and better for consumers. By choosing to farm organically and not use artificial pesticides, Coombs Family Farms is doing their part to protect the environment and nurture the forests, so they can continue maple sugaring for generations to come.
How Is Maple Syrup Graded?
All maple syrup grades are determined by color. There are five USDA maple grades, including three Grade A’s (light amber maple, medium amber maple, dark amber maple) and two darker syrups, Grade B maple and a commercial maple grade. Not unlike wine, all have distinct flavors and tones. Contrary to popular belief, maple syrup grades do not indicate a difference in quality or purity. When buying maple, choose the right grade for what you intend to use it for – and pair it with. As a rule, the darker the color, the stronger the pure maple flavor.
- Grade A Light Amber – A very delicate maple flavor
- Grade A Medium Amber – A stronger, yet mild maple flavor
- Grade A Dark Amber – Robust maple flavor, great for cooking, grilling, and on oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, glazes, etc
- Grade B – The heartiest maple grade, and a perfect ‘secret ingredient’ for adding deep, dark flavor tones and subtle sweetness to your favorite gourmet recipes.
Maple Syrup Grades in the United States and Canada
Designation based on the percent of light transmittance
Maple Candy - A Sweet Finish
Making maple candy is half science and half art – but the end result is 100% pure sweetness! The science part is easy. The art takes years of experience to perfect. Arnold Coombs’ grandfather perfected his recipe in 1925 and now this same tasty recipe has been passed down from grandfather to father to son.
Arnold first got a taste for maple candy as a four-year-old boy, exploring the candy kitchen. He still remembers feeling like a king as the candy packers – Marjory, Claire, Dot and all the others – motioned him over to their tables and offered him any pieces of candy that had gotten broken. Arnold’s walks through the candy kitchen quickly became a daily ritual!
Tools Of The Trade
While maple is the same as it has always been, over the last seven generations the ways Coombs Family Farms gathers and produces it has changed. The days of slogging through the sugarbush with a team of horses to collect sap from hundreds of individual buckets are no more. Here are some of the tools and technologies that help make collecting and processing sap more efficient and more environmentally sustainable, so that our small farms can remain productive and our forests can thrive.
When it comes to caring for the trees, the little things count! “Health spouts” are smaller than traditional spouts in diameter and make a smaller hole, so the tree heals more quickly. While they also reduce sap flow, Coombs Family Farms thinks doing what they can to preserve the health of their trees trumps any desire for a faster ‘sap run.’
By using vacuum tubing instead of traditional buckets, small farmers are able to tap more trees with less effort, reduce overhead, and continue farming the land while minimizing impact on fragile root systems from roads and trails. Torests are healthier, and rural farming communities are able to thrive.
A small vacuum pulls sap from the spouts into and through the tubing, increasing yield and reducing energy consumption.
Sap is stored in a holding tank until it is evaporated and converted into pure maple syrup and sugar. To ensure the highest quality maple, it is important to evaporate the sap as quickly as possible after collection.
For many years, Coombs Family Farms has worked hard to save energy, reduce their carbon emissions, and take care of the environment. In fact, Coombs Family Farms has reduced their carbon footprint by 75% by being the first to use reverse osmosis in the maple industry. Reverse osmosis uses agitation to separate sap from water, drastically reducing the amount of energy required.