The Sugarmaker's Companion

The Sugarmaker's Companion

An Integrated Approach to Producing Syrup From Maple, Birch, and Walnut Trees

Book - 2013
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Chelsea Green Publishing

The Sugarmaker’s Companion is the first guide of its kind addressing the small- and large-scale syrup producer seeking to make a profitable business from maple, birch, and walnut sap. This comprehensive work incorporates valuable information on ecological forest management, value-added products, and the most up-to-date techniques on sap collection and processing. It is, most importantly, a guide to an integrated sugaring operation, interconnected to the whole-farm system, woodland, and community. Farrell documents the untapped potential of American forests and shows how sugaring can turn a substantial profit for farmers while providing tremendous enjoyment and satisfaction. 

Michael Farrell, sugarmaker and director of the Uihlein Forest at Cornell University, offers information on setting up and maintaining a viable sugaring business by incorporating the wisdom of traditional sugarmaking with the value of modern technology (such as reverse-osmosis machines and vacuum tubing). He gives a balanced view of the industry while offering a realistic picture of how modern technology can be beneficial, from both an economic and an environmental perspective. Within these pages, readers will find if syrup production is right for them (and on what scale), determine how to find trees for tapping, learn the essentials of sap collection, the art and science of sugarmaking, and how to build community through syrup production. 

There are many more unique aspects to this book that set it apart from anything else on the market, including:

•    A focus on maple as a local, sustainably produced and healthy alternative to corn syrup and other highly processed and artificial sweeteners;
•    The health benefits of sap and syrup in North America and throughout the world;
•    Attention to the questions of organic certification, sugarhouse registration, and the new international grading system;
•    Enhancing diversity in the sugarbush and interplanting understory crops for value-added products (ginseng, goldenseal, and mushrooms, specifically);
•    An economic analysis of utilizing maple trees for syrup or sawtimber production and the market opportunities for taphole maple lumber;
•    The value of sap as a healthful and profitable energy drink;
•    Detailed analyses on the economics of buying and selling sap;
•    Lots of great information on marketing to create a profitable business model (based on scale, interest, and access), and more. . . .

Applicable for a wide range of climates and regions, this book is sure to change the conversation around syrup production and prove invaluable for both home-scale and commercial sugarmakers alike.

Book News
Farrell, sugarmaker and director of Cornell's Uihlein Forest, offers this guide to producing syrup and sugar from the sap of maples and other North American trees, covering both technical and business aspects with an emphasis on realistic strategy to suit one's own limitations of time and resources. The book opens with an argument for tree-derived sugar production and a discussion of factors to consider in determining whether to start an operation. Infrastructure and process options are then presented, followed by paperwork aspects and business strategy, including maple beers, candies, and other value-added products, and utilizing other resources such as berries and herbs that may be growing already or easily planted on the forested land. Finally, comparisons to timber use are assessed, and the impact of changing climate is outlined. A list of further resources appears in the back. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: White River Junction, VT : Chelsea Green Pub., 2013
ISBN: 9781603583978
Branch Call Number: 633.64 Farrell 2013
Characteristics: x, 327 pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm


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