By Oregon Family Farm Association
Move over, Maine: Oregon is competing for the maple syrup market. The state’s forestry community, which has traditionally relied on growing, logging, and selling Douglas fir trees, is using new technology—reverse osmosis pumps—to remove water from the sap produced in bigleaf maples to make and market maple syrup, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.New technology in the form of long tubes and a vacuum pump also enables farmers to tap hundreds of trees at a time rather than only one. The Oregon State Legislature also made it easier for small-scale family farmers to produce syrup at home rather than investing in commercial-grade kitchens.
After the USDA awarded the University of Washington a grant in 2020 to study bigleaf maples, Oregon State University applied for a similar grant and now helps 30 Willamette Valley farmers invest in the pumps, vacuum pipes, and boilers to produce maple syrup for resale.