Tapping into the organic flow (Day 332)…


The flow of maple syrup, that is.

It occurred to me during a recent grocery expedition and some follow-up Google searching how important it is to buy organic maple syrup. Earlier on Green as a Thistle, I wrote about honey, and made the switch to organic for the sake of the bees, but today it’s for the sake of the trees.

Why is it so important to get organic syrup? Well, for numerous reasons, but here are just a few, courtesy of Béland Organic Foods:

  • Organic syrup doesn’t use any lead or lead solder in the processing equipment, so consequently there’s no lead in the finished product.
  • During the running season, Béland cleans its line system with natural biodegradable products.
  • In making organic maple syrup, there are no synthetic chemicals used to control foam during boiling; instead, certified organic and Montreal Kosher vegetable anti-foaming agents are used. Often, at least in the past, pig fat was used to prevent foaming (sick!).
  • While brand-named syrups are sometimes made with sap that’s been treated by UV radiation or microwaved, and the “pancake” syrups are mostly just corn starch, organic Grade B maple syrup is pretty much straight from the tree.
  • Finally, organic sap farms don’t mess with any pesticides or GMOs; they treat their trees with respect to ensure a long and natural life.

So from now on, my sweet tooth will only be sated with ethically responsible syrups. All it requires is spending an extra couple bucks, which I think is pretty simple.

Image courtesy of these guys

10 Responses to Tapping into the organic flow (Day 332)…

  1. arduous says:

    Darn it, now I’m craving pancakes!!! 🙂

  2. Esme says:

    Make the trip to the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival in spring (usually beginning of March). Its delicious, fun and most/all of the maple syrup is made/sold by Mennonites, who I don’t think use any chemical crap in processing. Actually, I think their meats are pesticide and hormone-free and pasture fed as well. Its an hour and a bit from T.O. and def. worth it!

  3. Teartaye says:

    We had someone from Quebec come to my Junior High School (French immersion).
    They poured fresh maple syrup over clean snow and rolled it up on a popsicle stick. It had to have been the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. My point is: maple syrup is delicious when it’s not all corn syruppy crap!

  4. Isle Dance says:

    Fantastic coverage!!!!!!

  5. Leah says:

    Hey thistle,
    Just wanted to give you a heads-up that when they talk about their “line system” that means that they use lines (plastic PVC hoses) to pump their trees for sap. This is really damaging to trees and from what I understand can even kill them! The sap is the tree’s transported nutrients and overharvest is something to be concerned about, even if everything else is done organically. So my suggestion would be to buy from small-scale local farms that aren’t putting undue pressure on their trees. Anyways, just wanted to pass that along.
    But you are definitely on the right track with real maple syrup, nothing beats it! I’m lucky to have friends who tap trees on their property and like Teartaye has said, the best thing to do with fresh maple syrup is to roll it in snow and make maple candy. Delish!

  6. monica says:

    The pig fat makes sense…maybe that is why syrup tastes so good on bacon/sausages.

  7. Hellcat13 says:

    Mmmm…You said it, Monica. Nothing beats sausages covered in maple syrup. Now I have a craving, too 🙂

  8. Deb Beisel says:


    Just to let you know that the pipeline system is not a system which “pumps” sap from the tree. It is a system where spiles are connects to tubing that runs downhill to a tank. Perhaps some people use some form of vacuum to help the sap run up the tubes if all the trees are downhill from a collection site, but it doesn’t pump the sap from the tree. If you want to make maple syrup (even for a living) believe me you do everything you can to protect your trees. What hurts the trees is acid rain, insect damage, and stupid people who cut them down for wood. BTW, we currently use a pipeline system. It just saves our backs from carrying all those buckets.

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