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Changes Coming to Famous VT Maple Syrup

Changes are coming to maple syrup grading in Vermont.
JERICHO, Vt. - Maple syrup is a staple in Vermont, but the state's classic grading system is about to change, and soon.

Vermont's maple syrup is known world-wide, but iconic terms like Fancy, and Grade B will soon disappear at Palmer Lane Maple in Jericho.

Owner Paul Palmer says, "well that's the plan, as soon as I can get the grading labels, I'm going to turn over to the new grading system."

A new grading system goes live in Vermont January 1, and according to proponents it will make buying the right syrup easier.

“Really its going to make it easier for the consumer because it does two things- it talks about not only the color of the syrup, but the flavor of the syrup," Palmer explains.

That means you'll hear terms like golden color/delicate taste, and amber color/rich taste.

Palmer hopes that limits customer confusion. "They come in all the time, what's this, what's fancy, should i be buying that because it infers its the best? It's an education fight for us to let them know that Grade B is just as good as Vermont Fancy and it’s all in the flavor and what they like the most."

While some producers will be adopting the new grading system on January 1, the traditional grading system you're used to isn't totally going away- there is a grade period. January 1, 2015 is when all producers have to start using the new system. Other states use a system similar to what's being adopted here, and Canada will soon use the exact same one. That should make Vermont syrup more marketable elsewhere.

Palmer also says producers will be able to sell darker syrups.

"Being able to sell some more of the darker, more flavorful syrups, that's really a selling point. People come in looking for that darker, heavier syrup."

Palmer says the new labels will also include a color corresponding to that of the syrup inside the jug. That too should make syrup buying easier.
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