Coombs Family Farms is passionate about making and selling maple, but we also care deeply about where maple comes from: the forest. It is part of our history, part of our heritage, and so it is our charge to care for it responsibly. We must do what we can today to ensure that the sugar makers of tomorrow – our children and grandchildren – can thrive while working close to the land.
As part of our commitment, we maintain and practice a sustainable forest management plan for our farm. We always use tree-friendly health spouts, and never jeopardize tree health by over-tapping – two taps per average-sized tree is our maximum. We use energy-saving reverse osmosis that reduces our energy consumption by 75% – and we are the first organic maple producer to have applied this technology.
Low impact vacuum tubing helps us protect the fragile root systems of our trees. The vacuum tubes can carry the sap from thousands of trees to one central holding tank, reducing the need for roads to collect sap from buckets, and so minimizing the compacting of soil that can wreak havoc on tree roots and cover vegetation that healthy forests need to thrive.
We always use QAI organic certified cleaning processes to prevent contamination of equipment, soil, and groundwater. We never use chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and we have organic certification buffer zones in place to protect our trees from potential ‘drift’ contamination from road crews or neighbors using pesticides.
We also buy from and support other small farmers who practice sustainable forestry and share our commitment to the environment. In this way we help support responsible forest stewardship policies beyond our farm, keep land open, forest ecosystems intact, and rural economies stronger.
Each spring we tap many of the same maple trees Arnold Coombs’ great-great-grandparents once tapped. Some of the trees are more than 300-years-old. As our farm has grown over the years, we take pride in maintaining our connection with these ancient maple trees. They represent an important link to the past, and remind us every day of what can be accomplished when a forest is cared for properly, and farmed with the long view in mind.