Coombs Family Farms - Organic Maple Syrup Grade A Dark Color - 12 oz (354 ml)
Coombs Family Farms Organic Maple Syrup Grade A Dark Color is stronger and darker than the lighter grades, and has a robust and substantial flavor. Formerly know as Grade B maple syrup, Grade A Dark Color is produced as the days become warmer and longer in sugaring season. Both the color and the maple flavor are a bit stronger and more intense than the Amber, Rich. The sugar content of the sap has dropped by now so, it takes more sap to make a gallon of syrup; hence the darker color and stronger flavors. This versatile grade is great as a topping and for cooking. Its strong maple flavor also lends itself to meat glazes, cooking recipes, and atop of waffles, pancakes, or oatmeal. Coombs Family Farms organic maple syrup is thick, sweet and richly delicious. For seven generations, the Coombs family has farmed and harvested without pesticides and chemicals, making organic maple healthier for the forest, healthier for the environment, and healthier for consumers.
- Premium Grade B Maple Syrup
- No artificial flavors, preservatives or dyes
- Winner of the National Certificate of Distinction for Taste Award from the American Tasting Institute
- Certified Kosher
- Certified Organic by QAI
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.
What happened to Grade B?
Understanding The New Maple Syrup Grading System.
In 2015, maple producers worldwide began complying with a new, universal grading system. The International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI) proposed new maple grades to alleviate consumer confusion and to provide continuity for export markets. Previously, Canada, Vermont, and New York all had different grading systems.
In addition, there was a common misconception among consumers that Grade B maple syrup was somehow inferior to Grade A syrup. Conversely, others believed that Grade B syrup was superior to Grade A, in that it had more nutrients and trace minerals.
The truth of the matter is that there is no consistent difference between the grades in terms of minerals or nutrients. Maple syrup is a single-ingredient, natural product and as such, it varies from year to year, from forest to forest, and from tree to tree. Even the method of boiling can influence the color and flavor of maple syrup; reverse osmosis machines remove up to 50 percent of the water from the sap prior to boiling, resulting in a shorter boil and less caramelization of the sugars in the sap. But maple syrup grades are determined by color and flavor. The darker the color, the more intense the maple flavor. Not unlike wine, each grade offers its own unique set of distinctive flavors and tones, and everyone has his own personal preference. Lighter syrups are are produced earlier in the sugaring season, and darker syrups are produced as the season progresses.
What it all boils down to (ahem) is personal preference. Some prefer a lighter, subtler flavor. Others like a more robust maple flavor (particularly for use in recipes) and opt for the darker grades. The new grades are meant to help the consumer choose by providing both a color AND a flavor descriptor.
Real maple syrup is divided into two primary grades. The new maple syrup grades are outlined below:
1. Grade A (with four classifications): Sold in retail markets, this high quality pure maple syrup grade is intended for human consumption. There are four separate designations and flavor profiles under this grade:
Golden Color and Delicate Taste: With a pronounced golden hue, this delicate and mild tasting syrup is often a favorite pairing for pancakes. (This is comparable to the Grade A Light Amber grade).
Amber Color and Rich Taste: Also ideal for pancakes, this amber colored syrup, which can be either light, medium, or darker in hue, has a full-bodied and rich flavor. (This is comparable to the Grade A Medium Amber or Grade A Dark Amber grades).
Dark Color and Robust Taste: Stronger and darker than the lighter grades, this has a robust and substantial flavor that is ideal for grilled, glazed, or baked dishes. (It is comparable to Grade A Dark Amber, Grade A Extra Dark, or Grade B).
Very Dark and Strong Taste: This strongest maple syrup flavor is typically used for cooking purposes.
2. Processing Grade: This second grade of maple syrup is not permitted for retail sale, but is suitable as an ingredient in food products. While it doesn’t meet Grade A requirements, it does meet all other maple regulations and food quality/safety guidelines.
Coombs Family Farms is committed to protecting the health of their forests and making products that are 100% organic. No matter which maple syrup grade you choose, you can feel good about using them in any and all of your culinary endeavors.
Organic maple syrup is the healthiest and most versatile sweetener out there. Each grade boasts its own unique flavor profile, and when you add maple syrup as one of your kitchen staples, the culinary possibilities are truly endless. Whatever your maple preferences are, you will find superior flavor and quality in every bottle of Coombs Family Farms 100% pure maple syrup. With seven generations of experience under our belts, you can taste the difference!
Try out a few grades and see for yourself how much better your favorite meals can be with 100% pure organic maple syrup!
Non Genetically Modified Ingredients
All of Coombs Family Farms pure maple syrup is made from 100% pure maple sap extracted from wild, natural maple trees - 40 years old and older. These trees are wild maple trees and not cultivated trees. The trees have not been genetically modified. Since no other ingredients are added to the product, their products do not contain any genetically modified 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.
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!
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.
- They use 100% pure maple syrup with no artificial flavors, preservatives or dyes
- They never over-tap trees
- They support the use of "health spouts" for tree-friendly tapping
- They never use pesticides in their tree farm
- Their grading standards are never comprimised for short-term gain
About Coombs Family Farms
Since the mid-1800's, the Coombs family have been acting as responsible stewards of the forest, following a 'sustainable' approach to agriculture long before anyone had a specific name for it - or could conceive of any other way to farm. As part of a fabric of nearly 8000 maple farmers who are all preserving maple forests and keeping land free from sprawl, Coombs Family Farms is doing more than making maple. They are helping to preserve crucial habitat for thousands of distinct plants and animals that need large intact tracts of forest to survive. More than three hundred years after their family started sugaring, seventh generation maple farmer Arnold Coombs and Coombs Family Farms are still going strong.