According to at least one farmer, tapping forests for maple syrup is more profitable than logging those same forests. in a profile in the UP Second Wave, Mike Rudyard, owner of Michigan Maple Farms on the upper peninsula in Michigan, says maple syrup producers can expect to make 7.5 to 10 times more annual income from sugaring than from logging.
Of course, logging and sugaring do not represent an either/or choice. Selective logging of high-value timber in forests can coexist with sugaring if it is done in a sustainable manner. Such logging can actually be beneficial to maple trees as the sugar maples that remain have less competition for sunlight.
Coombs Family Farms has been making maple syrup for seven generations. (In fact, the eighth generation is also in the business, running our candy-making division.) You don’t last that long without taking care of your trees, and Coombs only buys syrup from family farms that follow these same sustainable practices, such as using “health-spouts” which are smaller in diameter and thus need a smaller hole in the tree. So when you buy Coombs Family Farms products, you can be confident that you are not only supporting family farms, but you are also encouraging sustainable forest management practices.