Open House Friday April 29th and Saturday April 30th, 2016!

Join us for our 2016 Open House! We will be hosting a variety of seminars with something for everyone, vendor tables, food, and door prizes, as well as our early order discount sale for next year’s supplies. Plan to join us!

Schedule of Events (same schedule both days):

  • 8:00 – 4:00 Showroom and Equipment Sales Counter Open
  • 9:30am Cooking with Maple – Alissa Bascom
  • 9:30am Helpful Tips for the Beginner Producers – Steve Roberge
  • 9:30am Cleaning or Replacement Strategies to Maximize Sap Production: Which is Best? – Dr. Tim Perkins
  • 11:00am Is it Okay to Tap Below the Lateral Line? – Dr. Tim Perkins
  • 11:00am Hydrometers, Filtering and Bottling – Brad Presby
  • 11:00am – 3:00pm Free Hot Dogs, Salads, Chips, Drinks, and Desserts
  • 1:00pm Maple Confections for the Small Producer – Katie Woodard
  • 1:00pm Your Sugarbush Questions Answered – David Butler

In addition to the seminars, we will have several displays set up with information, demonstrations, and representatives from various businesses to answer your questions on products and services available to sugar makers. We will also have a Leader Evaporator in operation.

Bascom Maple Farm
56 Sugar House Rd.
Alstead, NH  03602

Maple Syrup: The Perfect Clean Label Ingredient

‘Clean label’ is no longer a trend—it is now a simple fact of doing business.  What started in the Natural and Specialty category of the grocery channel has now taken hold in the Conventional channel as well, as large companies such as M&M/Mars, Kraft, and Hershey focus on producing products with Clean Labels as well.

But what exactly does ‘Clean Label’ mean?  Simply put, ‘Clean Label’ is “trend of simplifying ingredient lists… [and to] to reduce the number of ingredients” in food products.  Where possible, simpler ingredients are substituted for more complex ones.  So, for example, “cream” is substituted for “microparticulated whey protein concentrate.”

The chain Panera has gone so far as to publish a “No-No List” of ingredients it will not use.  The company’s goal is to remove these ingredients from all menu items by the end of 2016.  It estimates that it is 85% of the way there.

Food producers are being forced to reformulate their recipes in order to maintain their bottom line.  According to research from Morgan Stanley, the Millenial Generation is three times as likely to “seek employment with a company because of its stance on social and/or environmental issues.” And they’re twice as likely to “check product packaging to ensure sustainability”, purchase from a brand because of its sustainability credentials, or put their money in investment funds that target sustainability outcomes.  Another study, conducted by the spice company Kalsec® found the following:

  • 80% of consumers indicate that a short and simple ingredient listing is important or very important.
  • 75% of consumers usually or always read package claims and ingredient listings.
  • 2 out of 3 indicate a “no artificial ingredients’ claim is important or very important

Maple syrup and maple sugar are two versatile, plentiful ingredients that can go a long way toward getting you a clean label, as maple substitutes for a long line of ingredients, including aspartame, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), maltodextrin, polydextrose, saccharin, sucralose, sucroglycerides, and other artificial sweeteners.  Bascom Family Farms has a long history working with food manufacturers in recipe formulation.  Contact us today to talk about how we can help you get a Clean Label.

How Maple Sugar and Texas Earth Help Build Healthy Rhizospheres

Jim Burnett, Owner of Texas Earth, Inc. is on a mission. With his deep-rooted knowledge of agriculture, years of experience on the job, and a passion for microbiology, Burnett’s company “is dedicated to the betterment of humanity through the preservation of sustainable agriculture.” To that end, Texas Earth manufactures products that help growers balance their soil, use water more efficiently, and grow crops sustainably. Astonishingly, maple sugar plays a small part in this budding agricultural revolution… and in rhizospheres.

It all begins with microbiolog

“I was born and raised on a farm in the Texas panhandle and have lived in this area most of my life,” says Burnett. He graduated from Texas Tech University in 1971 with a BS in Animal Science and earned his MS degree in ruminant nutrition six years later. His thesis sparked an interest in microbiology, transitioning his focus away from animals and onto soil and plants. “In 1994, I began working with natural amendments to correct imbalances in the soil. I started out with humic and fulvic acids, compost tea, liquid chicken manure, lime and gypsum.”

Nearly seven years ago, Texas Earth was launched in the City of Brownfield just outside of Lubbock near the New Mexico border. Today, Burnett’s company is helping landowners across the United States achieve soil balance, minimize costs, and maximize crop production. According to the company’s mission statement, “Through time proven technology and the application of soil building products, the ultimate soil profile necessary for maximum nutrient density and energy can be achieved.”

According to Texas Earth, realizing the optimal balanced soil profile is comprised of “four basic components: plant available nutrients in a balanced format, mineralization for proper electrical nutrient exchange, organic matter in adequate amounts and maximized biological activity in a healthy oxygenated environment.” Of course, when it comes to the goal of creating healthier, more nutrient rich soil, no group is more interested than farmers; Texas Earth’s primary audience. From cotton farmers in the South and citrus groves in Florida, to grape, olive, and almond-producers in California, Texas Earth products are growing in popularity.

But solving the problem of unbalanced soil without chemicals is not limited to farmers. Golf course managers, landscape and lawn care companies, homeowners, and farm-to-table growers (small acre farms that produce fresh produce for high-end restaurants) are increasingly joining the sustainable agriculture movement.

Correcting the nutritional imbalance in our fields

Unfortunately, much of our farm, public, and recreational lands are oversaturated with toxic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides. These chemicals, applied at a frequency that far outweigh need disrupt the delicate balance the soil needs in order to produce. Simply put, fertilizers packed with excessive amounts of nitrogen rob the soil of its natural ability to act as a nutrient-dense breeding ground for crops. And even though the soil is technically fertile, its nutritional value is unavailable to the crop. This “nutritional imbalance” was the problem Burnett sought to solve… and that led to the invention of Bio Nectar.

“Essentially, Bio Nectar acts as a key facilitator in making sure that the plant gets the nutrients that it wasn’t getting before,” explains Burnett. Bio Nectar is a liquid microbial that is effective in introducing beneficial microorganisms and enzymes to the soil profile. This “introduction” enhances the biodiversity of the plant rhizosphere; the “plant-root interface” (the area surrounding the root that is inhabited by a diverse group of microorganisms.) This enriched biodiversity translates into improved crop yields, lower incidence of disease, and more efficient water utilization.

Unlike other microbial products that are produced anaerobically (without air) to accommodate a longer shelf life, Bio Nectar is produced in the presence of oxygen. Oxygen is the natural catalyst for a healthy, microbe-active rhizosphere that naturally inhibits the growth of undesirable organisms in the root zone and helps reduce susceptibility to disease. While the product is powerful, the ingredients are simple and natural. Bio Nectar is derived from rock phosphate, earthworm castings, molasses, kelp, and maple sugar from Bascom Family Farms. So what part does maple sugar play in this mix?

Helping cultivate a sustainable future

Maple sugar is an effective and natural way to help bring the soil back into harmony. “Other sugars do not provide the same diversity as maple sugar,” Burnett explains. Once in the soil, maple sugar cultivates fungal microbes which the rhizosphere needs along with bacterial microbes in order to be balanced. Bio Nectar also contributes to healthier soil by reducing compaction and improving aeration, as well as facilitating greater nitrogen utilization.
With balanced soil, sustainability can be a present day reality for the farmers and landowners seeking a better, healthier, chemical-free future.

According to Jim Burnett, Bio Nectar’s effectiveness is not dependent on location and his company can ship it, as well as its other products, anywhere within the United States. To learn more, please visit the Texas Earth website and Facebook page for the latest news, offerings, and educational facts.


Profile: Vermont Distillers

Ed Metcalf - Vermont DistillersFrom the classroom to the winery, and from a business plan competition victory to a distiller of maple-flavored liqueurs, it’s been quite a journey for one Vermont entrepreneur.

“I was a teacher in Marlboro, NH, in the early ‘80s,” says Ed Metcalfe. “When I got an offer from a friend to run a liquor store in Rhode Island for about twice what I was making as a teacher.”

Following his tenure at the liquor store, he later became a sales rep for Rhode Island’s first winery, a position that planted the seed to become a vintner himself. He did just that in 1985 – creating and owning North River Winery, Vermont’s very first winery. The apple wine with maple syrup and the gold-medal-winning raspberry apple wine were the best sellers.

Fast-forward to 2008 when Ed Metcalfe won first place in the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation’s annual business plan competition. He received $10,000 to jump-start his Vermont Distillers in Marlboro, Vermont on Route 9 next to the Hogback Mountain Scenic Overlook. (If you stop at the Hogback Mountain Gift Shop can ask for a small taste of the maple liqueur.) Today, working side-by-side with his sons, Gus and Dominic, Ed Metcalf’s Vermont Distillers’ produces an exceptional line of maple-flavored liqueurs.

Vermont Maple Cream Liqueur: maple makes the difference

The inspiration for Vermont Distillers’ signature (and very popular) liqueurs can be traced back to Ed Metcalf’s winery days. Originally, Vermont Maple Cream Liqueur was initially envisioned as a maple liqueur – without the cream. Ultimately, fresh cream became an integral part of the product giving it a smooth finish similar to that of an Irish cream liqueur. What really sets it apart, is the 100% pure maple syrup.

Getting the right maple flavor was a critical step in this product formulation. As with any maple beverage, it’s essential to test different grades within the distilling process to find the right balance. Following some experimentation (and after working closely with Bascom), it was determined that Vermont Grade B was the perfect match. The darker syrup gives Metcalfe’s Vermont Maple Cream Liqueur the unmistakably robust, smooth maple flavor that people thirst for.

This unique liqueur is best enjoyed chilled and served straight up or on the rocks. It’s also the perfect addition in mudslides, coffee, hot cocoa or served over ice cream. Ed says that first-time customers typically become instant fans and Metcalfe’s Vermont Maple Cream Liqueur has received high marks and “Publisher’s Picks” praise from leading industry publications.

VT Distillers-4“From its subtle maple aroma to its billowy soft entry, this liqueur tippy-toes on the tongue,” wrote the Spirit Journal, along with awarding 91 points to the Maple Cream Liqueur. “It soon lets go, dousing the mouth as if it were a pancake: a milky wash of maple syrup and cream with a hint of perky 34-proof spirit.”

One big reason Metcalfe’s Vermont Maple Cream Liqueur stands out from other similar products is real maple syrup. Chemically altered “maple flavors” taste artificial. Simply put, only real maple syrup can deliver the real maple flavor. The same commitment to “real food” quality includes the use of fresh raspberries in Metcalfe’s Raspberry Liqueur.

Vermont Distillers’ products are sold in most liquor stores in Vermont, with additional availability in Alabama, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. For more information, visit their website or check out their Facebook page for the latest news, offerings, and recipes.

Maple making a big splash in beverage industry

Prized for its flavor and nutritional benefits, maple syrup has become an increasingly more popular ingredient in a variety of food and beverage categories including:

Non-alcoholic beverages: Natural juices are just one example of healthy beverages that rely on pure maple syrup as a delicious and natural sweetener.

Beer: Breweries coast-to-coast are incorporating pure maple syrup into their signature ales. The darker maple grades complement the robust, complex nature of these brews.

Liqueurs and alcohol spirits: Maple is fast becoming a key ingredient in flavored bourbons, whiskies, moonshine, and other alcohol products.

Food: Cereals, bars, sauces, nut butters, bacon, glazes, spice mixes all taste better with maple. Anything that contains cane sugar can be replaced with maple sugar or maple syrup.

Whether the need is for beverages or foods, getting the perfect maple flavor is a unique challenge; a challenge that Bascom enjoys solving. For example, whiskey or other hard liquor brands may need a clear liquid. Does this automatically rule out a dark amber (or medium amber) grade over a lighter one? Not necessarily. It all depends on the process. No matter what beverage is being produced, different grades will react differently with different manufacturing and distilling processes. This is why it’s so important to experiment with different grades within specific processes to find the perfect flavor combination and eliminate any unwanted variables before it goes to market.

“The only complaint I’ve gotten is that people can’t keep it in their refrigerator,” explains Ed Metcalf. “It goes too fast.”

While Metcalfe’s Vermont Maple Cream Liqueur may sound like an outlier, the truth is that maple syrup’s use in spirits is positioned for some serious growth in the alcohol beverage industry.

According to a New York Times article “If Jack Daniel Were a Beekeeper” (“Flavored Whiskeys Expand the Market”, June 24, 2013), “Today, flavored whiskeys are the fastest-growing segment in the bourbon industry. According to Nielsen research provided by Beam, in 2012 flavored whiskey accounted for nearly 75 percent of growth among all whiskeys, and 42 percent of growth in bourbon.”

A perfect match

Vermont Distillers knew that that they could count on Bascom to produce an exceptional product. We invite you to call us at 888-266-6271 or contact us online if you’d like to learn more about our maple product R&D services and wholesale pricing.

In the mean time, let’s lift a glass of cheer to entrepreneur Ed Metcalf who knows that money doesn’t talk nowadays… it goes without saying.