Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Certified Organic Maple Syrup – Another Level of Assurance

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March 2012

Maple syrup season is upon us, and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) encourages consumers to support local producers – especially those certified as organic by MOFGA Certification Services LLC. 

While most syrup producers use few if any synthetic chemicals, such as forestry pesticides or herbicides, organic producers are required by law not to use these materials, and their forests are inspected to help ensure compliance with MOFGA’s organic certification practices.

Organic producers also may not use synthetic antibiotics, fumigants or sterilants in contact with sugar maple trees.

They must encourage species diversity and tree health to provide stability to forest communities. Organic producers are expected to manage their woods by thinning trees in order to leave healthy, vigorous stands of mixed young and mature maples and other tree species. They are expected to tap only healthy trees, and in a sustainable way – using only 1 tap in trees that are at least 10 inches in diameter at breast height, for example, and a maximum of three taps per tree, depending on the size of the tree.

The must minimize nails and other hardware inserted into tree trunks, and they may not apply paint to tree trunks that are tapped, as paint is a synthetic substance and is not permitted in organic crop production.

Materials used to clean buckets and other equipment must not persist in the environment.

When evaporating sap, only certified organic defoaming agents, such as milk, butter or vegetable oil, may be used; synthetic defoaming agents are not permitted, nor are meat products.

Products that enhance taste, color or texture may not be added to organic maple syrup; nor are preservatives allowed.

While many commercial producers may comply with these and other organic standards, only certified organic producers have been inspected – offering another level of integrity to environmentally sound maple syrup production.

Search for maple syrup producers in Maine, Quebec and Vermont certified by MOFGA Certification Services LLC.

This article is provided by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), PO Box 170, Unity, ME 04988; 207-568-4142; [email protected];

Joining MOFGA helps support and promote organic farming and gardening in Maine and helps Maine consumers enjoy more healthful, Maine-grown food.

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