As an Ohio guy, I’ve had my share of natural maple syrup. It’s literally worth its weight in gold. In fact, when my wife and I moved into our current house, we were welcomed by a jug of Ohio Maple from our neighbors across the street. That meant you were really “in.”

Naturally, with quick and easy access to such a treat, it’s not hard to take the blessing of having maple in your area for granted. Step outside the Northeast and Midwest and you’ll realize the awareness of maple sugar is not as strong. Speaking with maple producers and distributors, I heard the common thread that has become a major issue: marketing.

Getting the word out is vitally important. In this issue, you’ll hear about the efforts of the maple industry with a profile of Connecticut’s Lamothe’s Sugar House’s no-nonsense approach to maple sugar marketing (page 34). Also, you’ll see how Pennsylvania’s Milroy Farms (page 32) is pushing maple to new levels. Our cover story (page 26) of Vermont’s Boyden Family Farm takes a look at its maple operation as well as the whole operation. Our sugaring column (page 20) provides some helpful advice for producers from the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.

This month’s maple focus highlights the many benefits of real maple syrup and its long-lasting effects, even for our health. Just last month, the American Chemical Society included real maple syrup as a food that protects brain cells against the kind of damage found in Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Donald Weaver, from the Krembil Research Institute of the University of Toronto, who spoke at the group’s symposium in San Diego last March, stated “an extract of maple syrup may help prevent the misfolding and clumping of two types of proteins found in brain cells – beta amyloid and tau peptide. When cellular proteins fold improperly and clump together, they accumulate and form the plaque that is involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.”

Other researchers cautioned that more studies are required, but stated their findings are encouraging.

Real maple syrup has always been fascinating in the sense that its natural state contains so many helpful qualities. I hope you enjoy this issue; it was “sweet” getting the word out and putting it all together!

So, let’s raise a tiny helping of your favorite shade of amber and toast to the many benefits of maple; then pour it on your waffle, pancake… or steak! Cheers!

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