Endless Mountains Maple Syrup Producers Association
The International Maple Syrup Institute, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, sponsored the International Maple Grading School in Markleton, PA on October 17-18, 2015. Alan Roloson of Roloson Brothers Maple Syrup, Troy, PA and Jim Tice of Tice’s Maple Syrup, Mainesburg, PA completed the two day training and experience requirements. New standards for the maple syrup grades have now been adopted by Pennsylvania which were set by the International Maple Syrup Institute to only have one grading standard throughout the maple syrup industry. Maple syrup is graded by four characteristics: density, color, clarity and flavor. During this training over fifty samples of syrup, sugar, candy, and cream were tasted and twenty-eight were judged by the eleven participants.
The density was measured by three instruments, hydrometer, refractometer, and hydrotherm. Temporary grading kits and a spectrophotometer were used to determine the color of each sample of syrup. From lightest to darkest the new syrup grades are: Golden, delicate taste; Amber, rich taste; Dark, robust taste; and Very Dark, strong taste. All of these new standards are Grade A maple syrup and have a good flavor.
Throughout the training, many off-flavor maple syrup samples were also judged by the group to teach the class the taste of those flavors and what characteristics may be observed. Procedures and corrective processes were given to correct some of the conditions that created the off flavors.
By completing this comprehensive International Maple Grading School two day training event, participants enhanced their own knowledge of maple syrup grading and it allows those who complete it to be qualified knowledgeable judges of maple products entered into competitions at the Pennsylvania farm show, local fairs and maple festivals throughout the complete maple products industry in North America.