With last month’s article we visited Organic Valley’s lovely dairy cow pastures. This month we’re headed to Maple Valley’s dense maple forests. Coincidentally, Organic Valley’s headquarters are just 30 minutessoutheast of Maple Valley’s headquarters in Cashton, Wisconsin.
In 1991, Maple Valley became a pioneer in organic and fair practices for maple syrup production. In addition to consideration for farmers and producers they also care about environmental sustainability: 100% of their operation’s carbon footprint is offset with renewable wind energy.
Maple Valley is a co-op which unifies the efforts of 15 maple tree farmers in not only Wisconsin but also the Great Lakes and Appalachian regions as well. In addition to Farmer members they also have Customer, Vendor, Investor, and Employee membership categories.
You might not think there could be much innovation around something as age-old as maple syrup but this year Maple Valley released a new BPA-free plastic squeeze bottle with a no-drip silicon valve. It’s not only great at preventing the sticky and crusty situation as seen with regular squeeze bottles and traditional glass bottles, it’s also terrific for kids who may have a hard time avoiding maple syrup floods on their pancakes with their independent endeavors. But don’t worry, for you old school types, their syrup is still available in the classic glass bottles.
Many people have begun substituting maple syrup for white sugar. (See conversions on their website) Unlike mostly non-nutritive sugar, maple syrup is considered a “super food” because it’s loaded with minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and manganese which boost the immune system; it also contains many compounds that are anti-inflammatory. Maple syrup is a simple, minimally-processed food; that is, it is created by boiling down maple tree sap.
Hang on to summer through September with Maple Valley recipes for Maple Barbecue Sauce, Coleslaw, Baked Beans, Strawberry Walnut Maple Vinaigrette Salad, and Lemonade. (Find recipes on their website.)
Maple Valley’s mission is to “produce and market the finest organic maple products with fair and sustainable methods respecting farmers, vendors, employees, land and communities.”
Maple Valley Cooperative Snapshot
Founded in 1991
Headquartered in Cashton, Wisconsin
Certified Organic, Kosher, and Non-GMO
Vegetarian/Vegan, Gluten Free, and Paleo Compliant
P6 Cooperative Trade Movement Member
Information from this article and more can be found at: www.maplevalleysyrup.coop
Amy Newsome remembers the magic of her first visit to a maple syrup operation while visiting her sister in Michigan. She remembers the tapped maple trees hung with buckets and the steaming maple sugaring shed emitting the most delightful smell.