Odd News Show

I’d Tap That! Maple Syrup is Making Strides in New Jersey

Vermont may still be leading maple syrup production in the U.S., but New Jersey’s finally tapping into its own natural resources for a sweet return.

By Liz Days · April 8, 2024

Pour me a double, Pauly! Ed Vasquez/Unsplash

If you’re like me, the perfect beverage on a cold winter day (or a hot summer night) is a strong swig from your mini jug of pure maple syrup. You tell yourself every fall, this is the year you’ll drive from NYC to VT to drink straight from the maple tree trunk like your ancestors before you. Well, now, Tri-staters, you’ve got some sweet, dark, golden goodness right in your own back-yarden State: New Jersey’s gone maple, baby, and we’re gonna tap dat a**. 

Can't W8 til New Jersey gets some maple leaf pl8s!  Lynn Friedman/Flickr

As a New Yorker, you probably think of New Jersey as that cousin you love to make fun of, but also know will stab you if pushed too far. You go there for the baccarat & the beaches. It’s the Garden State that keeps its gardens tucked farrrr away from the highways you travel.

They might not pump their own gas there, but now, backed by $1 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Stockton University in Galloway, NJ, is in its fourth year of pumpin’ their own syrup from the 300 acres of maples surrounding it. Drink up, friends! 

The key to the Stockton Maple Project, according to its directors, is using the red maples of South Jersey (close to the university) that are a different class from the sugar maples of VT and contain about half their sugar content.

Make like a maple and LEAF me some syrup.  Stanley Zimny/Flickr
“Yeah, ‘the redder the maple, the LESS sweetuh the juice’ is somethin' all shugguh maples, even us in north Jersey, used to say, but that don’t mean I’m not happy for my red family down south. They never get the glory my kind do, so it’s about time they got their wawtuh (or ‘wood-uh’, as they say) tapped and fyud up. Good fuh dem.”
Barbara “Sweet Barb” Mapletree - Red Maple's cousin, North Jersey

It’s still no competition with the nearly 3 million gallons of sweet maple Vermont produces every year for U.S. markets, but Stockton has already collected over 4,000 gallons of sap this year, and is expecting to produce 55 gallons of syrup.

Uh, helllllloo...My butter's down here!  Kobby Mendez/Unsplash

If you wanna be in the big leagues with the big trees, you gotta start somewhere, and I’m goin’ all in with Jersey on this one. Let’s get those waffles, pancakes and shot glasses lined up for a fresh pour, cuz breakfast is served across the Hudson and it’s happy hour somewhere!