Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many maple producers were forced to cancel open house events during the 2020 sugaring season for the safety of the producers and their customers. This caused a major loss in sales for many maple producers throughout the maple producing region. While COVID-19 is likely to still be a concern for the 2021 sugaring season, we now have a better understanding of the virus and protective measures to keep everyone safe while staying open for business. Those measures and best practices are detailed in this guidance.
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Processing maple syrup into value-added products can increase product diversity, sales and producer profits. When considering the variety of potential value-added products, such as salad dressings, coated nuts, seasoning products, and sauces, it is important to evaluate the ingredients for their allergen risk potential and add the proper allergen statements to food product labels. This will ensure that you produce quality products and protect potentially susceptible consumers.
Consumer interest in local products and functional beverages has increased markedly in recent years. Several beverages composed primarily of maple sap are currently available in the marketplace. These products are sold at ambient temperature, and are considered shelf stable. Prior investigation has demonstrated the need for specialized processing equipment in order to achieve shelf stability of maple sap beverages. The current study investigated the feasibility of producing a refrigerated beverage without the use of commercial processing equipment for small businesses.
Template for creating a food safety plan for your sugaring operation.
Creating a food safety plan can help you maintain high-quality production and can help you when training new employees. This model food safety plan for maple is based on the recommendations made in the U.S. Food and Drug AdministrationÕs Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (PDF), on the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act and on industry recognized food safety practices.
Regardless of the availability and guidance provided, maple producers should clearly understand that the use of isopropyl alcohol in maple tubing systems anywhere in the United States is a violation of federal law.
In order for sugarmakers to take advantage of the newfound interest in maple sap beverages, processes must be developed that would allow small scale producers to process and package maple sap safely, efficiently, and economically. We investigated several methods that might be employed for seasonal markets during the harvest season of January-April.
Organizations grow and develop like children, animals or plants. Understanding organizational growth can help make sense of what is happening in maple producer organizations.
Occasionally, maple syrup becomes contaminated with floating masses or surface mold. Conventional practices have been to discard obvious mold growths, re-boil and then consume the syrup. This practice may be risky, especially with the increasing number of food borne illness outbreaks with other food products and the resulting negative publicity surrounding these outbreaks.
Sugar maple is a deciduous tree that can grow to a height of 50 to 130 feet. It is native to the US, and found throughout the eastern states. Sugar maple is the primary source for maple sugar and syrup. Trees are tapped for syrup in late winter/early spring throughout New England. Sugar maple is also a valuable hardwood for a variety of products from flooring to cabinets.