Greenstate Sugaring's maple syrup doesn't have a lot in common with most syrup available on the West Coast. If all you've tasted is that artificial Mrs. Butterworth's "pancake syrup," then boy, are you in for a treat.
Right now we have two grades of syrup: Grade A Amber and the elusive Fancy, rarely seen outside New England. Soon we'll also offer the familiar grocery store standard, Grade B. Unlike the standard grading system, which is based on color alone, our grading system is based on a combination of processing date, color, and flavor. We know you know that Grade B is "the most flavorful," but we highly recommend trying some Fancy and Amber; a big part of maple syrup flavor intensity comes from processing practices and freshness, and we think you'll be blown away by the lighter grades, too.
The difference between good and great syrup is all in the details. Sugaring season at The Bunker Farm starts in January, when Mike, Dan, Jesse, and Noah strap on snowshoes and charge up their electric drills to start setting taps and laying lines. Each of the more than 5,000 taps is set individually each year, a process that takes weeks. Like most agricultural products, effective sanitation is critical for the production of great syrup. Careful attention to appropriate vacuum, regular monitoring of tree health, and frequent cleaning of all surfaces the sap contacts are ongoing during this part of the season.
The moment the sap starts to run (this year, things got rolling in early March) marks the beginning of sometimes 24-hour-a-day labor. Freshness is essential. Anything that can shorten the time between when the sap leaves the tree and when the finished syrup is canned improves the flavor of the final product, which is why the Bunker Farm cans their syrup directly off of the evaporator. At the height of the season, boiling sessions can run all the way through the night. Don't worry: there's beer.