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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Take a Dip

As a kid (a younger kid, I should say), Jake would always ask for "dip" with his pancakes or waffles.  "Dip" to him, was maple syrup.  Real maple syrup. 

There are some who are just fine with "pancake syrup"--the corn syrup-based, maple-flavored stuff (Log Cabin, Mrs. Butterworth's and the rest).  Maybe I'm a syrup snob, but we can't be without our real stuff.  When we travel to Maine each year, we pick up a big jug of it (much cheaper up there) and keep it in the freezer to use as needed. 

About 80% of the maple syrup sold in the US is produced in Canada.  Vermont produces the most US-made syrup (as you might expect) followed by New York and Maine.  What you might not expect is that Pennsylvania ranks 8th in US maple syrup production.

Sap lines running from tree to tree at Shelburne Farm in VT.

Warmer days come earlier here than in New England, so production starts earlier in PA.  A week or so ago, Peace Valley Park had Maple Sugar Day where they talked about the historical significance of maple syrup as well as the processing.  They toured you through the woods and showed how the trees were tapped.

While PA syrup is only a fraction of what is produced in Vermont, it's still a long, time-intensive labor of love for those who do it.  And when the sap starts to flow, it's time to celebrate.  Read more about Northwestern PA's maple syrup and get some maple-infused recipes in an article from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Dip anyone?

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