218 of 251 people found the following review helpful
Good Value, Moderate Taste,
This review is from: Coombs Family Farms 100% Pure Organic Maple Syrup Grade B, 32-Ounce Jug (Grocery)Having grown up in sugar maple country and bought syrup from the farmers in unmarked gallon cans ('store syrup' never entered our house), I have plenty of experience with maple syrup. [Tip: maple trees and maple syrup are 'organic' by definition. Farmers who tap trees add nothing. Don't pay more for 'organic'.] At our house we 'sugared off' every Winter. For those who know what I'm talking about, read on. For those who don't have any idea, you may be happy with this product.
The Good: This syrup is priced right (purchased at $17.31). It is a good buy and you should not be shy at purchasing. It's really about a 3 star minus or 2.5 stars.
The Not So Good: Grade B syrup is normally 'mapley' with caramel notes. This syrup LACKS the strong maple flavors that make it suitable for cooking or a good match for those who like strong flavors, but it does NOT have the complexity or finesse of a Grade A Amber. In short it is rather bland and pedestrian for maple syrup. What we don't know is whether the trees tapped for this label vary from year to year but this batch is uninteresting. I bought it as an alternative to Whole Foods label (about $20) but quite frankly the Whole Foods Grade A Amber has a stronger maple flavor with more complexity and the Whole Foods Grade B is significantly stronger in flavor. I would rate the Whole Foods Grade A Amber as a 4 star minus, and the Grade B as 4-5 stars.
Tracked by 6 customers
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Showing 1-10 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 11, 2010 4:52:33 PM PST
Unfortunately, non organic maple syrup has formaldehyde in it - organic does not...
Posted on May 11, 2010 8:47:04 AM PDT
Jon Amirault says:
I just spent my first year in the sugaring business and I assure you I haven't met a small farmer yet that uses formaldehyde !?!?! In fact the only thing holding most people back from being "certified" organic is the $$ to get the certification. Nobody I've met adds anything and the only other standard is that no tree under 10" is tapped (which most of us don't do anyway for sustainability and forest health). One reason some peoples syrup tastes a little different isn't just color or "grade" but sugar content. In Maine "syrup" by definition has to have a specific sugar content, (a range of about 3 degrees on the Brix scale). Some producers go right on the money at the low end, some the high end, and some in the middle. If you compare syrup on the low end vs. syrup in the middle you'll notice a subtle difference in taste and thickness.
Posted on May 29, 2010 8:22:30 AM PDT
a cook by necessity says:
Best maple syrup I ever had was from a guy who was a purist and boiled down his sap in an open vat over a wood fire. That slightly smoky flavor was perfect.
Posted on Jun 30, 2010 10:09:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 16, 2012 10:30:13 AM PDT
After more research, organic maple syurp has more to do with the way the sugar bush is managed, not pesticides. Vermont has the strictest requirements.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2010 12:00:20 AM PDT
L. Mountford says:
@Belle -- yes, I would disagree with this. Use of paraformaldehyde pellets has been illegal for some time. See: http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/htm
"Clean the Tap Holes
Insert spouts right after drilling. Tap them in gently to avoid any unnecessary damage to the tree. When removing wood chips, use a twig or other clean tool to brush them out. Blowing into the hole to remove chips is an unsanitary practice. It will contaminate the tap hole.
Warning: Don't use paraformaldehyde pellets. In the past, paraformaldehyde pellets were recommended for use in tap holes; some out-of-date sugaring manuals still suggest their use. Research shows that the use of paraformaldehyde pellets can damage the trees, so they are now illegal. "
Posted on Aug 1, 2010 8:10:23 AM PDT
Eric Pruss says:
I thought I would add one other degree of information to the organic versus non-organic discussion...
Organic foods, Maple Syrup included, are made in a way that limits the use of synthetic materials during production. Under organic production, the use of "conventional" (i.e. chemical or synthetic) non-organic pesticides, insecticides and herbicides is GREATLY RESTRICTED and used as a last resort.
Per the USDA NOP, there are three levels of Organics...
"100% Organic" - Products labeled as "100 percent organic" must contain (excluding water and salt) only organically produced ingredients and processing aids. This category may display the USDA organic seal.
"Organic" - Products labeled "organic" must consist of at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). Any remaining product ingredients must consist of nonagricultural substances approved on the National List including specific non-organically produced agricultural products that are not commercially available in organic form. This category may display the USDA organic seal.
"Made with Organic ingredients" - Processed products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients can use the phrase "made with organic ingredients" and list up to three of the organic ingredients or food groups on the principal display panel. This category of products cannot be produced using excluded methods, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation. The percentage of organic content and the certifying agent seal or mark may be used on the principal display panel. However, the USDA seal cannot be used anywhere on the package.
Any product labeled as organic must identify each organically produced ingredient in the ingredient statement on the information panel. Additionally, there are no restrictions on use of other truthful labeling claims such as "no drugs or growth hormones used," "free range," or "sustainably harvested."
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2010 6:59:02 AM PDT
Myra A. Mason says:
Yes! I agree. You're the first person I've read that experienced this. Can't beat that slightly smoky flavor!
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 25, 2010 11:28:39 PM PDT
Do I read too much? says:
For the maple syrup experts: is it possible that non organic syrup is produced from trees whose roots or leaves would be in contact with any pesticides, herbicides, etc? If so, some of this might make its way into the syrup, I would think. This would make it impossible to qualify for organic status. Perhaps some farmers tap trees in the middle of pure clean forest, but maybe some trees are near civilization/ pollution/ chemicals? What is your opinion?
Posted on Sep 18, 2010 10:17:10 AM PDT
Sanity in SF says:
Chris: for those of us foodies who did not have the privilege of growing up in maple syrup country, but who can experience the huge range of tastes among products called maple syrup, thank you for sharing your expertise! i am always in search of very rich mapley tasting quality maple syrup. (But just like the search for rich olive-tasting olive oil, it can be very difficult to find.) And the maple syrup grading isn't so helpful as you've noted that Grade A in one brand can have stronger maple flavour than Grade B in another! Thanks for your suggestion. Please share any others you think are worth purchasing.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2010 8:04:09 AM PST
This statement of "paraformaldehyde pellets" is completely untrue. Been in the maple business (over 8000 trees tapped) for over 8 years and have never heard of this. Sap from a tree has less than 2% sugar content, therefore never "clogs or clots" the taps holes.
The only thing that clogs the sap holes is the healthy regrowth of the tree. That is why the taps are not placed into the tree until 1-2 months before the season and removed after. That is also why the same tap hole is not used the next year and re-tapping happens on a different section of the tree the following year. New taps have been developed in the past 3 years that have a "ball-valve" effect that keeps air (thus bacteria) from entering the tap hole while not in use, keeping the trees healthy.
Contaminating the tap hole by blowing into it?? Ha! That maybe a bit paranoid.