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Bringing Maple Syrup Production to the Interior West

Gabrielle R. Harden

05/03/2021

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Maple syrup, which is commonly produced in Canada and the northeastern United States, is a household staple. It is made by boiling sap that is collected from maple trees, namely the sugar maple (Acer saccharum). The production of maple syrup is highly dependent on climatic conditions. With an ever-changing climate, sustainable maple syrup production in the regions where it is commonly produced is at risk. A new project aims to develop a maple syrup industry for the Interior West through research and targeted extension.

Utah is home to three native maples: Bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum), boxelder (Acer negundo), and Rocky Mountain maple (Acer glabrum). Roughly 20 other maple species (non-native), such as the Norway maple (Acer platanoides), can be found growing in urban areas. Investigators for this project hope to determine the potential for tapping Utah maples to produce a syrup that rivals with what is readily available in the market today. To test the quality of locally produced maple syrup, chemical analyses and sensory evaluation will be done.

Another goal of this project is to educate hobbyists and non-producing landowners about maple syrup tapping techniques and the production process. Landowners have the opportunity to participate if they have land with maple trees (at least 100) and are willing to make their woodlots available for syrup production.

For more information on this project, contact Darren McAvoy via email or phone - 435-797-0560.