December 17 is National Maple Syrup Day, and what better way to celebrate than with a syrup that's made right here in the Hudson Valley.

Mike Cobb from Crown Maple Syrup joined us this morning to teach us about the local, organic syrup that is being made at Madava Farms in Dover Plains. Cobb describes their process as "bark to bottle" since the entire process from tapping the trees to creating the syrup is all done on premise. This type of syrup is classified as "estate -produced pure maple syrup" and is very different than "pure maple syrup."

Bottles of syrup that are described as pure must be made entirely from maple, but there is no rule that the syrup has to come from the same location. In fact, many pure maple syrups are actually blended from batches produced in different locations. You may think you're getting high quality syrup when, in fact, it actually contains inferior products mixed in.

Estate-produced syrup, like the kind that is produced here in the Hudson Valley, is an unblended pure maple syrup, that means it's created from one specific place. In the case of Crown Maple Syrup, all of their products come from maple trees on Madava Farms.

Maple Syrup
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Of course, there are different varieties of maple syrup. These varieties used to be classified by "grades." But now they are designated by their color.

Originally classified as "fancy " syrup, this is the rarest of maple syrups. It can only be produced with the lightest of sap, which is entirely up to the weather and environmental conditions. This syrup is highly sought after for it's light and delicate flavor.

This is the syrup most of us are familiar with. It's got a rich taste with lots of maple sweetness. Amber is perfect for pancakes or wafles.

Formerly classified as "Grade B," dark maple syrup has a much richer and robust taste than amber syrup. If you're looking for more maple flavoring with pancakes, some may want to choose a dark syrup. It's also great for recipes that call for maple syrup, as it has more flavor than amber when cooked.

Very Dark
This syrup has an extremely strong taste and is mostly used in recipes. If you're glazing something in syrup or adding it as an ingredient this would be the style to choose. Before the classifications were changed this syrup was called "Grade C" and was only available for commercial use.

Crown Maple Syrup also ages some of their syrup in bourbon barrels, creating a unique syrup that has a strong, boozy flavor. It's great for cooking, using as a mixer in cocktails or even drizzling on ice cream.

If you'd like to see how maple syrup is made, Madava Farms offers tours. The maple trees are usually tapped in January, when the sap starts flowing. You can find out more details at their website.