From the North Country to ABC’s Shark Tank: An Interview with Parker’s Maple ParkersHeaderPic.png We’re proud to support farmers and producers in the Northeast throughout the whole year: When it’s made or grown here, we get it here! We were recently able to speak with Alee Parker at Parker’s Maple in Canton, NY. She was kind enough to answer some of our questions about the company and its delicious maple products! PC: What is your process for making maple syrup? AP: When making maple syrup, our process is still the same as it was originally when we first began. We go out, tap the trees, and then when the sap is collected and ready we bring it to the production facility where we have osmosis machines and evaporators. PC: When is maple season and how long does it typically last? parkerssyrup1AP: The best time of year is when it is freezing temperatures at night, and then around 40 degrees and sunny during the day. This occurs around the spring; typically March is prime maple time. PC: Is tapping the trees harmful to the tree? AP: We haven’t seen any evidence of it hurting the tree. You do have to be careful that you don’t drill within three inches of where you drilled the year before. We, like all maple farmers, do take special precautionary measures to be cognizant and mindful of where we are drilling. As far as evidence of it hurting the trees, we haven’t seen any, our trees continue to grow bigger and bigger every year! PC: Do you have any products that would be considered organic? AP: Yes, our maple cotton candy! Our cotton candy is certified organic. PC: Do you add anything to your maple syrup? AP: Our syrup is 100% pure, real maple syrup. Our maple butter is 100% maple syrup with a small preservative added. PC: What does Parker’s Maple do to stand out? AP: We’re big on innovation, with a goal of “waking up” the sometimes sleeping maple category. We are innovating by creating products like our maple butter, and rebranding it to fit into the current nut butter craze. Our maple cotton candy is also super unique. ParkerMapleHGInnovation is a huge part of what we do, and our mission is to educate people about the health benefits of maple syrup as opposed to granulated sugar, brown sugar, and honey. Plus, Josh has a unique story, starting the company with his dad at a very young age, so we like to talk about our story. PC: What’s your favorite part about working on a maple farm? AP: The excitement we get from customers and fans! People show up on any given day and we always get calls from people raving about our stuff. It helps all of our employees become excited about what we have going on. PC: You guys made a pitch on Shark Tank last year. What was it like presenting your brand on national television? AP: When Josh went on Shark Tank it was nerve-wracking! I think I was more nervous than he was. But he did a great job, and the national exposure we received from it was incredible. The number of orders that came in after the show aired were beyond anything we could have expected. It took us a month to fulfill all of the orders. It was amazing to see our company jump from being a local food company to a national brand overnight. PC: What’s your favorite thing about Price Chopper? AP: The people! The employees at our local Canton NY store are always so friendly and helpful. Plus, Price Chopper holds value to supporting local farmers and producers like us, which we’re very thankful for.   Props to Alee Parker for taking the time to chat with us! We pride ourselves on being able to offer local products in our stores, and that would not be possible without folks like Parker’s Maple. We’ll be sampling their syrup in the stores below – if you’re in the area stop by for a home.grown. taste!   Western Lights Syracuse Price Chopper, 11/10 12:30-6:30pm East Greenbush Market 32, 11/10 12:30-6:30pm Genesee Street Utica Price Chopper, 11/11 10am-4pm Brunswick Market 32, 11/11 10am-4pm Glenville Market 32, 11/11 10am-4pm Hudson Valley Plaza Market 32, 11/11 10am-4pm Clay Price Chopper, 11/11 10am-4pm Cicero Price Chopper, 11/11 10am-4pm Clifton Park Plaza Market 32, 11/11 10am-4pm Clifton Shoppers World Market 32, 11/12 10am-4pm Guest blog written by Ben Taylor of Merle Maple Farm   As the weather begins to warm up, it’s time for maple season! We at Merle Maple Farm, based in Attica New York, are proud to produce high-quality and consistent maple syrup for our local partners at Price Chopper and Market 32. Their commitment to providing local products for customers is beneficial for local economies and strengthens the “Tree to Table” connection that maple farming thrives off of.   maple_merleMerle Maple Farm is owned and operated by the Merle Family, which is currently in its 6th generation of family ownership. We have over 17,000 taps in the woods which collectively produce over 350,000 gallons of sap per season. We boil this sap down to the sweet product we all know as maple syrup: between 6,000 and 9,000 gallons per year! Maple syrup is all-natural, with no additives and no modification; just pure nature-derived goodness.   The Merle family produces a wide variety of maple products, from maple syrup to BBQ sauce, and cotton candy to sugar candy. We enjoy chatting with folks about all things maple, showing people how we make our maple products, and being engaged in the local community.   We hope that you enjoy our maple syrup as much as we enjoy producing it. Thanks for reading!   Find out more about Merle Maple Farm by visiting their website, and find out more about our local maple producers on our maple page! We had a great day today visiting the team at Mapleland Farms! We hung out at the sugar house with Mary Jeanne & the Mapleland Farms family to chat with our Facebook followers about all things maple! With Mary Jeanne’s help, we were able to answer many of your maple questions. Below are some of the most popular questions & answers from our local experts! Does the color of the syrup relate to the flavor of the syrup? MJ: The darker the syrup the stronger the flavor. The color is determined by the sugar content of the sap when it comes out of the trees. However, all maple syrup is 67% sugar!   Has the weather this year been affecting your productivity? MJ: We count on cold nights & warm days to make the sap run. This year, there’s been cold nights & cold days, or warm nights & warm days, so the sap production is down slightly.   How much sap does it take to make one pint of maple syrup? MJ: It takes about 40-50 pints of sap for one pint of pure maple syrup.   What is the difference between the grades of syrup? MJ: There are 4 grades of pure maple syrup: golden, amber, dark, and very dark. The darker the syrup the stronger the flavor. All 4 grades have the same sugar content–67% sugar!   Which grade of pure maple syrup is best for cooking? MJ: We recommend dark or very dark. The darker the syrup, the stronger the maple flavor.   Can you substitute pure maple syrup for sugar in baking? MJ: Yes! When baking, substitute pure maple syrup with sugar 1:1 and reduce the amount of liquid slightly.   Does where the maple syrup comes from (NY, VT, Canada) affect the flavor? MJ: Definitely! Just like wine regions, maple also has different flavor regions.   How should maple syrup be stored? MJ: If unopened, pure maple syrup will keep for 2 years. Once opened, it should be kept in the refrigerator. Pure maple syrup can be put in the freezer; however, it will not actually freeze.   Do you tap the same trees every year? MJ: We tap every tree, every year!   Special thanks to our friends at Mapleland Farms. Look for their award-winning pure maple syrup at 3 of our locations: Fort Edward Market 32, Wilton Market 32, & Market Bistro in Latham. Learn more about them & shop all their products online. Click here. maple in store Written by Tyler Blance, Marketing Program Coordinator – Local  It’s maple season in the Northeast and we’re celebrating at Price Chopper and Market 32! HG_maple_1200X628We’re proud to team up with a variety of different maple farmers and producers across the 6 Northeast States we operate in! Our maple friends supply different stores with a range of items like pure maple syrup, maple cream, maple candies, and even maple cotton candy! Our Price Chopper brand of maple syrup is produced in Vermont from the sap of Vermont maple farms! Maple is a delicious seasonal flavor, but did you know that it’s also an important agriculture product of our region? The Northeast is home to the ideal weather climate for turning maple tree sap into pure maple sugar (syrup): Vermont alone produces over 5% of the world’s maple syrup supply! Pouring maple syrup from a ladle onto fresh snowThere are a lot of different maple sugar farms in our region, ranging from small hobby farms who tap trees for personal consumption, all the way to folks who tap 17,000 trees, like our friends at Mapleland Farms in Salem NY !  Many of these farms offer sugar house visits and seasonal tours that are open to the public, and multiple Northeast state associations provide resources on visiting these local maple farms. You can see the process of maple production and become a Maple Master! Check out the links below to see what resources your state has to offer! Maple_NY1200x628Visit a New York Maple Farm Visit a Vermont Maple Farm Visit a New Hampshire Maple Farm Visit a Pennsylvania Maple Farm Visit a Connecticut Maple Farm Visit a Massachusetts Maple Farm And if you aren’t able to make it out to your nearby farm this year, our Vermont pals at Coombs Family Farms offer this pretty cool video that tells the story of their maple farm. For more information on our Northeast maple producers, visit our home.grown. maple page. May your maple season be extra sweet this year!