Saturday, March 14, 2009

New York's "Tap Ready" Stimulus Strategy -- local Maple Syrup

It's maple syrup season in New York, and a couple of the local papers have run stories about the sweet liquid treat. Early Spring is maple syrup season and next week begins the 14th annual Maple Syrup Festival in New York State (March 21-22 and March 28-29). Apparently, there's growth opportunity in the New York maple industry, as we have not yet "tapped" our potential (pun intended). 

The New York Times ran a piece on Wed., March 11,  "As Maple Syrup Prices Rise, New York Leaders See Opportunity" by Oliver SCHWANER-ALBRIGHT. Check out the article here. I love a great food article that addresses marketing, economic and political issues. 

Chuck Schumer, the Demoncratic Senator from New York, introduced a bill that will help small producers of maple syrup in New York better compete with neighboring Vermont's industry as well as Canada's mega-corporate maple syrup producers. According to the article, Senator Schumer calls the bill  “Shovel-ready, tree-ready, tap-ready. It’s ready to go.”

ABOUT THE FOOD 
From Westchester Country and all the way up to western NY and the Vermont and Canadian borders dozens of maple producers are opening their doors on March 21, 22, 28 and 29 from 10 am to 4 pm to showcase their sap. Maple Weekend is a family event presented by the New York State Maple Producers Association. Producers across New York will be hosting open houses for folks to see how maple syrup and other maple products are made.  For a list of producer hosts click here. 

Participants will boil sap into maple syrup, sample syrup (think wine or olive oil tasting) and purchase the maple products to take home. In addition some of the sugarhouses will provide of other activities to make your visit memorable. I know I have an appetite for PANCAKES and WAFFLES slathered in butter and maple syrup (New York grown syrup, of course) right about now. 

The event is free to the public. 

RECIPES 
A healthy substitute for processed sugar, maple syrup can be used in cooking at a ratio of one cup per each cup of sugar that's called for in a recipe (it has a district flavor to be selective in how you substitute with syrup). Maple syrup can be used in both sweet and savory dishes -- for a list of yummy sounding recipes using maple syrup click here. Personally, my eye is on the maple glazed pork chops and the maple oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. 

HEALTH NOTES
From the New York State Maple Association Website "Although pure maple contains mostly natural sugars, it contains other substances as well. Minerals absorbed by the tree are present, especially calcium. Phenols and antioxidants are present and can be active against cancer and free radicals. Potential health advantages of these natural compounds have been demonstrated in laboratory testing. "

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mmmm - maple. You have to try this - my favorite winter soup recipe, which features a great sweet/hot combo thanks to a healthy dose of cayenne and, of course, maple syrup: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Winter-Vegetable-Soup-230205