ABOUT US

Located in Holly, Michigan.

LeMaster Farms is both a producer of pure maple syrup and a packager (packer) of pure maple syrup. We have worked hard to establish a national market for Michigan maple syrup direct from the farm.

Our Commitment to Sustainable Forestry

As the focus in Michigan has shifted from dairy to maple syrup, many of the pastures that were productive sheep farms in the 1800s have grown up and are now productive sugar bushes.  Integration of the sugar bush with the primary hardwood forests is now an important concern for Michigan farmers. The organic certification process is one way that Michigan maple producers can ensure that their maple sugar bushes are managed in a sustainable way.

The National Organic Standards treat maple syrup as a “wild crop.” The standards state that “a wild crop must be harvested in a manner that ensures that such harvesting or gathering will not be destructive to the environment and will sustain the growth and production of the wild crop.”

All of our sugar bushes are managed for long-term sustainable production including tree health and long-term preservations of the forest ecosystem. We use specific guidelines for minimum tree size and number of taps per tree. We only tap mature maple trees which are 30 to 40 years of age and at least 12 inches in diameter.

Bird Friendly Forestry and Maple production

We are  committed to promoting bird-friendly habitat in sugar bushes in Michigan. In cooperation with Michigan’s Conservative Act, we are participating in an initiative  promoting bird friendly syrup.

Michigan sugar bushes are becoming threatened by  the spread of Asian long-horned beetles which have now reached the Southern borders of our state. A variety of Woodpeckers have been found to eat these beetles. Therefore, providing forest habitat for the woodpeckers is another important priority for balanced forestry and sugar bush management.

Today we manage our sugar bush as a healthy, diverse and functioning forest system. This has resulted in forest management practices including:

  • Selective cutting to promote a diversity of tree species.  Retention of Soft woods are especially desirable. By maintaining a diverse tree population we discourage the rapid spread of insect invasions (tent forest caterpillar, emerald ash borer). In addition, birds eat the insects so that spraying to control insect populations is unnecessary.

  • Retaining dead cavity trees (snags) for nesting birds, raccoons etc. The insects who make these dead trees their homes are a food source for many birds.

  • Leaving brush on the forest floor to decay and replenish the forest soil. Brush piles provide shelter for many forest animals and birds.

  • Leaving the understory. This promotes regeneration, and the understory is critical for many birds as well as visiting deer.

  • Creating some gaps in the canopy. Release the crowns of some maple trees and encourages new growth. Many forest birds thrive in this “edge” habitat.

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Our Specialty is Pure Maple Syrup

The Maple Syrup Story

History reveals several explanations for the discovery of maple syrup. A widely accepted story of how the everyday activity of boiling water to prepare a meal turned into an important agricultural discovery. The story says a Native American woman placed her cooking pot under a maple tree before bed one evening, where she could easily find it the next morning when she would take it to the spring to gather water for cooking. When her partner came home from a long, unsuccessful day of hunting, in frustration he plunged his hatchet into the pulp of the maple tree above where the woman set the pot.

The next morning, the hunter woke early to resume his search for meat. When the woman woke, she noticed the cooking pot under the tree was already full of water. Assuming her partner filled the pot, she was silently thankful and began warming the water over the fire, hopeful that her hunter would bring home some meat to cook.

What she thought was water was actually sap from the maple tree. As the liquid boiled and steam rolled off of the pot, the woman discovered the liquid had darkened and the flavor sweetened. She had made the first pot of pure maple syrup.

Native Americans regarded the sap of the maple tree as a direct gift from the Great Spirit. They welcomed the sugaring season each year with a great thanksgiving celebration. Maple syrup, and the directions to make it, were among the first gifts given to white settlers, who embraced the process of tapping the trees and making maple syrup. Maple syrup was an important part of surviving the long, cold northern winters for the Native Americans and settlers alike.

Maple forests are only found in the northeast quarter of the North American continent. The trees thrive only in a specific region from New England to Minnesota and the Canadian provinces that border on those states. Some small maple forests may also be found as far south as Kentucky and Virginia. As a result, other regions know very little about the difference between pure maple syrup and imitation maple syrup that is found side by side in grocery stores. Always look at the ingredients. If there are none listed, or if only pure maple syrup is listed, then you have the best sweetener nature has given us. If there are ingredients listed other than pure maple syrup, put it back! It is not the pure maple syrup that is so great on your pancakes!

Color is an important factor in grading and classifying maple syrup. The lightest grade is called Golden Color with Delicate Taste. This syrup is very pale in color with a mild maple flavor. Amber Color with a Rich Flavor is a little darker in color than the Golden, but still has a mild flavor. Dark Color with a Robust Flavor. It is, of course, a little darker yet, but is not so dark that you cannot see through it. This last grade has been known by several names like commercial, industrial, and grade B it is now called Very Dark with Strong Flavor. Dark and Amber are the two most popular grades. They are flavorful, but not over-powering like the very dark grade or mild like the Amber. We feel the very dark grade is great for cooking, baking and flavoring and although many feel it is too strong a flavor for pancakes or waffles some people prefer it.

“The best pure maple syrup I’ve had!  Doesn’t even compare to store bought syrups for my pancakes…”

Katie M

We Deliver Locally and Ship all over the Country!

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Headquarters

6626 Perryville Rd
Holly, Michigan 48442