Why do we make Mead and Mead Maple Syrup?
We love maple syrup and know that it is the most wholesome, natural, and best sweetener on earth. We love the taste, the amber color, the tromping out in snow to tap the trees, the splitting of the wood, the energized sense of aliveness that happens when the hints of warmth arrive in spring and the sap starts running, the sweet delicious scent captured by the thick steam cloud that escapes from the evaporator, the smiles from the first taste, the sharing of sap stories, and most of all, we love producing Mead and Mead Maple Syrup and supporting other small family run farms so everyone can enjoy the experience of its rich flavor.
So how do we incorporate that connection and passion into our product?
First by following in our family’s tradition of being good stewards of the land for over a century’s time. Mead and Mead is located on the pristine Yale Farm in historical New England and is a sustainable 300-acre family-run farm that promotes strong environmental practices. Mead and Mead has a deep understanding of the importance of caring for its trees and guarantees that ecologically safe tapping methods are followed. The philosophy for Mead and Mead is simple – to produce the highest quality, ethically conscious and environmentally responsible food for you. The farm’s reputation for superior quality maple syrup is recognized both nationally and internationally.
What do we do?
Mead and Mead produces Mead and Mead Maple Syrup that promises only a natural and eco-conscious taste. We practice responsible stewardship of the land, to ensure a safe and pure product for our customers. You know with Mead and Mead Maple Syrup that it is one hundred percent pure from tap to table.
How is maple syrup made?
Mead and Mead Maple Syrup promotes wholesome sugaring practices by paying close attention to the maple trees health, caring for the land, and using only the highest quality equipment. Producing a superior taste is Mead and Meads primary goal.
- Preparation– Months ahead of the season firewood must be cut and split and tubing strung and repaired in the sugarbush. The final task before a boil is a testing of all equipment.
- The season and weather conditions. Maple sugaring season depends on below freezing nights and warm days for the sweet colorless sap to flow from the sugar maple tree. Once the nights stop dropping below 32 degrees and the buds start popping on the trees, sugaring season is over.
- Collecting and processing. Two methods used to tap the tree are the traditional bucket and spout method and the pipeline or tubing method. The bucket and spout method is simply drilling a small hole into the tree and tapping in the spout. A bucket with a cover is then hooked into place. The pipeline or tubing method is a bit more complicated and though involves the same drilling and spout insertion, with this method a web of tubing lines connect from tree to tree and flow into a thicker pipeline that carries the sap to a holding tank. A vacuum system can be applied to the tubing to increase sap yield.
- Evaporating the sap. The collected sap then must be processed at the sugarhouse. Sap should be boiled immediately in a stainless steel evaporator pan that rests on top of a firebox called an arch fueled by wood or oil.
A high pressure filtration process called reverse osmosis removes a large percentage of water from the sap before it enters the evaporator. By concentrating the sap before evaporation reduces the volume of liquid by 70% or more. This saves valuable time and energy.
The rest of water from the boiling sap is then evaporated off and when the temperature reaches 7 ° F above the boiling point of water for the day (usually 212° F) the syrup is drawn-off the evaporator. To ensure proper density for syrup a combination of a thermometer and hydrometer are most often used. Syrup is then filtered through a press and finished on a much smaller pan called a finishing pan. It is then color graded and packaged.
- Grading the Syrup. Maple syrup is graded from light to dark and the boiling time of the syrup determines the difference in color and taste . In other words if there is more sugar in the sap the boiling time is shortened. The flavor of the syrup depends on the natural fermentation that happens to the sugar as the season progresses. It is a person’s individual taste though that classifies “best”. The grades include:
- Grade A: Golden Color with Delicate Taste
- Grade A: Amber Color with Rich Taste
- Grade A: Dark Color with Robust Taste
- Grade A: Very Dark Color with Strong Taste
- Careful filtering and packing ensures high quality. Filtering may be done with a simple wool filter material through which the hot syrup flows by gravity. Or a filter press can be used forcing 200° F syrup (mixed with diatomaceous earth - an FDA approved filter medium also used in wine making) through a series of filters under pressure. After filtering, the maple syrup is graded by color by comparing the syrup produced to a standardized grading kit.