Thrall Road Maple FAQs
All of the products of Thrall Maple are made from 100% Maple Syrup. In fact, that's the only ingredient in most of them - except for our line of infused products, which also include either the vanilla, smoked habanero, cinnamon or coffee bean. Maple cream and maple candy are made by bringing already-made maple syrup to a high temperature to evaporate more water out, then whipping and churning the syrup as it cools.
Where does maple syrup come from?
With the exception of some very small scale productions in other countries, most notable South Korea and Japan, all of the world's maple syrup is produced in the northeast region of the United States and the southeast region of Canada.
Why does Vermont make the best maple syrup?
Thank you! We are flattered you think that, and we happen agree wholeheartedly! That being said the perception of "the best" maple syrup can vary depending on personal taste preferences. However, Vermont's combination of favorable climate, abundance of maple trees, traditional methods, quality standards, craftsmanship, community involvement and Vermont maple culture have contributed to its reputation as a top producer of high-quality maple syrup.
Thrall Road Maple is honored to be a Vermont Maple Syrup producer and we take very seriously our responsibility to uphold our state's reputation!
What's the Thrall Road Maple Syrup production process?
We follow the same general steps for producing Maple Syrup that have been around for centuries, coupled with modern technological advances to increase yield, efficiency and quality. In a nutshell:
- Tap Our Maple Trees: This process involves drilling small holes into maple trees and inserting a spout into the hole to collect the sap in the winter. The goal is to have the your maple woods (known in the trade as your 'sugar bush') freshly tapped and ready for sap production when winter is drawing to a close and temperatures fluctuate between freezing at night and thawing during the day. It is at this time that so much sap is flowing from the roots to the branches of the trees that some of it can be harvested to produce syrup and other maple products.
Thrall Road Maple has a sugar bush of 5,000 taps, that spans roughly 100 acres of forest.
- Collect Maple Sap: As the sap begins to flow in the trees, it is collected through a network of tubes and pulled into central collection containers called 'releasers.' The releasers send the sap further down the network until finally collected into a 4,000 gallon tank behind the Thrall Road Sugar House, an electrified cabin which houses the evaporator and other equipment used in the next step.
- Transform the Sap to Syrup: Once collected, the sap is transferred into the sugar house to go through a series of processes to remove the water content and raise the sugar content of the sap. This step's objective is to transform the sap, which is approximately 98-99% water / 1-2% sugar, into 33% water / 67% sugar, which is the correct ratio of water and sugar to be classified as syrup.
The first stop is the Reverse Osmosis Filter, or 'RO'. As the sap is sent through the RO, it goes through a series of membranes that are able to filter out a large percentage of the water from the sugar content. This transforms the sap into what is called "concentrate."
The concentrate is next sent into an evaporator. The evaporator uses heat to further boil out the water content and concentrate the sugars. As the water evaporates, the sugar content in the remaining liquid increases. Through this process, devices known as hydrometers are set to float in the liquid, and their buoyancy provides an accurate reading of the sugar content. Once the sugar concentrate reaches the aforementioned 67%, we now have syrup! But we aren't quite done yet.. the syrup is sent to the next step.
- Filter the Syrup: Once the syrup reaches the correct sugar density, it is sent through a filter press to remove any impurities or sediment. The filter press consisted of a series of filter chambers which the syrup is sent through via a high-pressure pumps. These filters capture sediments known as sugar sand, and improve the clarity and taste of the maple syrup.
- Package and Store the Syrup: While still scalding hot, at 180-200 degrees, the syrup is hot-packed into sterilized containers, typically glass or plastic bottles and jugs, or large stainless steel drums. The syrup must still be hot to ensure freshness and prevent spoilage once the container is sealed. Then maple syrup can be stored in a cool, dark place and has a shelf life of multiple years.
Immediately after the production season, all 5,000 taps must be pulled out of the trees to allow them to heal. Time during the off-season will also be spent maintaining and repairing lines, repairing and upgrading equipment, etc. The fun never ends at Thrall Road Maple!
Whats the story with the 'grades' I can choose from?
Maple Syrup grades represent the progression of color and flavor as the sap is harvested into the season. As the 6-8 week season progresses, the syrup becomes darker and more robust in taste. These are the four basic grades:
Which Maple Syrup Grade is healthiest?
In 2015, Japanese researchers at Tokyo Kasei-Gakuin University published a fascinating study which evaluated the different grades of maple syrup for antioxidant activity. They found that darker grades have up to 300% more antioxidants than lighter ones.
For more info click here.
How does Shipping and Handling work?
When we receive your order, we immediately go to work, packing your products carefully and safely. Most orders are prepared for shipping on the same days as the order, but at most 2-3 days. Thrall Road Maple has special discounted rate with USPS and UPS that are built into the your order. When your order is filled, you will receive an email from the shipping company with an estimated delivery date and a tracking number. Orders are automatically insured for $100.
I'm local to Poultney. Can I arrange to pick up my order?
Certainly! At checkout, just click the 'Pick Up" radio button in the Delivery section. We will get notified of your order. Will will get your order ready right away. You can send a text to 802-884-0655 to check in on the status. We will also try to reach out to you with the contact info you provide with your order.
We can also offer 25% off your order if you can pick up locally. If choose local pickup, enter 'thrall-local' in the promo code section to receive this discount. Please note this discount can't be used with other promo code offers.
What if something comes damaged in my order?
We pack very carefully to ensure no damage will occur to the products you order. That being said, things can sometime go wrong, and something comes damaged. If that happens, please take some pictures of the issue, and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will figure out the best solution, including replacing the damaged items.
What's the best way to care store and care for syrup?
Keep maple syrup in sealed containers keeps well in a cool dry place. After the containers are open, the syrup should be refrigerated. For long term storage, you can keep maple syrup in the freezer. It won't freeze but will keep, essentially forever.
Maple cream should be stored in the fridge when not in use. Over time, maple cream will tend to separate, like peanut butter. If this happens, simply stir the cream with a sturdy knife or spoon. Maple cream can be stored in a freezer indefinitely.
Maple candy is stored at room temperature. While it doesn’t go ‘bad,’ it will get harder over time, in about 3 months after production. For longer storage consider, keeping in a Tupperware container.
Where can I find Thrall Road Maple products besides this website?
There are a few stores around us here in Poultney Vermont that offer Thrall Road Maple products:
East Poultney General Store
11 On the Green, Poultney, VT 05764
Crossman's General Store
8 East St, Middletown Springs, VT 05757
Original Vermont Store
163 Main St, Poultney, VT 05764
Unfortunately, at the moment, unless you're in our area and can shop at one of these stores or visit the Thrall Road Maple sugar house, this website is the only way to get our products. However, we are looking into other stores and farmer's markets across the country. We will update this page as new places emerge. If you are interested in carrying Thrall Road Maple products at your store or vending booth please drop us a line!
Can I visit Thrall Road Maple?
Yes you can! We love to show off our operation and we love to meet our customers! Just drop us a line when you'd like a tour and we will make it happen.
Is this FAQ over? You didn't answer my question.
Sorry! But please send an email with your question, and we will answer you ASAP. If it's a good enough question, we may just post your question and our answer here.