what is organic maple?
"Isn't all maple syrup organic?"
Organic certification can be a highly contentious topic, but for us, an easy decision. Bourdon Maple Farm was certified organic in 2015. After making a few changes to our operation, a Vermont Organic Farmers inspector visited the sugarhouse, toured the sugarbush, and signed off on our certification.
Some may wonder, isn't all maple syrup organic? It comes from nature after all. In the technical sense of the word, yes. Maple syrup is an organic compound distilled down from the clear sap of maple trees primarily in the Northeast and Canada. However, the goal of organic certification is much larger than that.
Organic certification of maple syrup is a highly detailed process that helps us adhere to specific standards for our syrup. In order to be certified with the state of Vermont and USDA, we follow strict guidelines in the forest and the sugarhouse that are designed with ecological and consumer health in mind.
Forests abound in a wealth of resources. Without ecological harmony, forest health would suffer. By organic standards, the sugarbush must have a diverse array of tree species to limit the potential for pest and disease spread. It should also be managed to eradicate invasive plants and allow native flora to thrive.
We have tailored our forest management plan to align with our goals as an organic maple farm and continue to adjust it along with the needs of our sugarbush.
We also follow specific tapping guidelines designed to ensure proper tree health and sustainable production. Poor tapping procedure can shorten the lifespan of trees and dramatically reduce sap production, so it is also in our best interests to keep our sugarbush as healthy as possible.
To maintain organic certification in the sugarhouse, we follow strict food safety guidelines for processing and handling of sap and syrup. We undergo annual inspections of the sugarbush and sugarhouse to ensure that we are using proper management methods throughout the entire process. Thorough record-keeping of all aspects of production helps us maintain exceptional quality for our maple syrup.
All in all, organic certification is a commitment to the sustainable management of one of Vermont's most valuable resources and to the quality of our state's signature agricultural product. Organic maple production represents a dedication to land and consumer, and to bettering our industry as a whole.
Caitlin Castellini Photography