Robb and Lydia Turner, who own Crown Maple Farm in Dutchess County, N.Y., have taken a new approach to maple syruping. Instead of picturesque metal taps hung with buckets, the farm uses slender plastic taps that do less damage to the trees. They are attached to BPA-free tubing that snakes into a vacuum system to deliver the sap clean, without leaves and other debris, to a central collection point. Rather than boiling the sap to remove excess water, the farm employs reverse osmosis, the process used to make alcohol-free wine, then moves the sap quickly through final processing to ensure freshness. All of the syrup is Grade A.
The Turners bought the 800-acre property in Dover Plains five years ago as a country retreat, then discovered that they also owned a forest of sugar maple trees. They have hired Nathan Wooden, a wine consultant who has worked at Per Se, as a “syrup sommelier” who oversees separation of the syrup into three styles: light amber, which is mild-tasting with a brown butter finish; medium amber, an earthier, spicier syrup hinting of roasted nuts and autumn leaves; and dark amber, which is rich and sweet and suggests chocolate and molasses — excellent for cooking and sauce-making.
Crown Maple Syrup is available in 12-ounce bottles, $19.95 for the light, $17.95 each for the medium and dark, $51.95 for a set of three; or in a sampler kit of three 1.7-ounce bottles for $19.95, from crownmaple.com. It is also sold at Dean & DeLuca stores, Murray’s Cheese, Foragers Market in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and Gourmet Guild in Brooklyn.
- By Florence Fabricant