Amber Wood Fired Vermont Maple Syrup by Rugged Ridge Forest - half pint
half pint - Rich Amber Maple Syrup
About the Maker & Product
Since 2014 Rugged Ridge Forest has been developing our sugarbush with the goal of producing sustainably harvested maple syrup at a scale that is right for both the ecology and economy in which we exist.
We do our best to provide syrup as cost effectively as possible in order to give our customers the opportunity restock their shelves frugally, or retail the syrup for profit.
We harvest our sap on site and process it with a wood fired evaporator fueled by wood generated from improvement cutting of our bush. We spent our first two years tapping our own trees, but trading the sap to our neighbors for processing in exchange for a percentage of the crop. Although this was not our end goal for a production technique, it allowed us to focus on growing slowly and steadily into something we could be proud of.
When the colonists arrived, they learned from the Native peoples about this seasonal source of sugar early in spring. The coopers crafted wooden buckets to collect the sap, and the tin smiths bent and soldered tin pans to boil the sap into syrup. Wood fires were burnt under the pans to generate the heat necessary to boil the syrup.
The high heat of the wood fire licking at the pans gave the syrup a robust, caramelized, smokey, “mapley” flavor (ask the old timers around our parts and “mapley” is the adjective they use for the strong flavor of good maple syrup).
The lighter colored syrup was called fancy because it could be made into an off-white, mildly flavored table sugar that could be compared to cane sugar, which was at the time a luxury import in northern New England.
The two grade A’s were medium amber and dark amber, which were a valuable export for Vermont’s burgeoning rural economy.
Then there was the “grade B” syrup, which was anything but B grade. It became the syrup of choice for the majority of Vermonters. With its robust flavor and intimidating color, it was harder to market out of state in a glass bottle compared to the beautiful ambers, and so earned the grade B title, but the intense flavor quickly endeared it to those who had tried them all, and knew good flavor when they tasted it.
Then and now B (now known as Dark and Robust) is preferred in complex recipes where a lighter syrup might be overpowered by other ingredients.