"In October 2013, Drs. Tim Perkins and Abby van Den Berg of the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, revealed the findings of a study at a maple syrup conference in New Brunswick, Canada that sent waves through the industry. In 2010, they were studying vacuum systems in sap collection operations. Based on the observation that one of the mature trees in the study that was missing most of its top was still yielding high volumes of sap, they hypothesized that the maples were possibly drawing moisture from the soil and not the crown. Previously, they had presumed that the sap dripping from tap holes was coming from the upper portion of the tree. But, if the tree was missing most of its crown then, they surmised, it must be drawing moisture from the roots. ... They realized that their discovery meant sugarmakers could use saplings, densely planted in open fields, to harvest sap. In other words, it is possible that maple syrup could now be produced as a row crop like every other commercial crop in North America." [more inside]
'Artisanal butters' are favored and appreciated by cooks and gourmands -- especially those crafted by "garage entrepreneurs" from Maine [video]* and Vermont (churned by Diane St. Clair and favored by Thomas Keller at his noted restaurants, The French Laundry and Per Se). Butters from Canada, France, Ireland and elsewhere are also cherished. [more inside]
In the past many folk rightfully pointed out that IHOP (International House of Pancakes) didn't have a restaurant in Vermont. Times have been a changin.' Last month, Vermont became the 50th and final state to welcome an IHOP. And, being in Vermont, "old fashioned corn syrup," masquerading as true maple syrup didn't make the grade. "The IHOP here is the only one of about 1,400 in the United States, Canada and Mexico to serve real maple syrup." The managers got permission from the company "with a special dispensation" to serve the real stuff. [more inside]
"The sweet aroma of sap permeating the air, still harkens the arrival of Spring"* in New England, Canada and other U.S. states. The Eastern Woodland Indians discovered that maple sap cooked over an open fire produces a sweet sugar [video], resulting in maple syrup. Many associate the syrup with Quebec (which produces most of the world's supply) and Vermont where about "one of every four trees...is a maple."* Vermont even has a "maple cop." He enforces "Vermont's maple regulations for the state Agency of Agriculture, which strictly regulates how Vermont's most famous export is made, marketed and sold."* [more inside]
6000 breathtaking aerial photos of American towns and other sites, with particularly good coverage of towns in New England (MA, VT, CT, NH, RI, ME). All of this by one photographer, Joseph Melanson, whose mission in life is "to show you facets of your environment that you never realized no matter how long you lived there."