There’s much to love about maple syrup. It’s natural, and rich with antioxidants and nutrients like riboflavin and zinc. Also, it has less calories than honey and table sugar, and has a striking amber color and caramel-like flavor.

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Double-digit sales increases and a record-setting syrup yield indicates maple syrup fervor is here to stay.

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Sugarmaker Arnold Coombs pulls back the curtain on the merchandising opportunities awaiting retailers in this category.

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Coombs sat down with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif and discussed his family’s history in the maple syrup business, why he compares syrup production to wine making and the challenges in marketing a commodity product.

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Arnold Coombs’ family has been tapping trees in Vermont and making maple syrup for seven generations. Today, Coombs Family Farms sources maple from 3,000 small family farms.

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From a space-saving toaster oven to sprayable syrup, these products are solving life’s little problems left and right.

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Coombs Family Farms has launched Maple Stream, which sprays, rather than pours, Grade A amber maple syrup.

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For seventh generation "sugarmaker" Arnold Coombs, of Coombs Family Farms, it’s pretty obvious. His favorite maple cocktail is a maple mojito, replacing the simple syrup with maple syrup, and a bit heavy on the rum, because he likes his drinks on the strong side.

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"From an early age, I developed an affinity for maple syrup, and I mean the real stuff—none of that high-fructose 'pancake syrup' business."

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"Forget cane sugar. Why not sate your sweet tooth with maple syrup? Nutritious minerals provide its color and flavor, and the gooey golden stuff has a lower glycemic index than refined sweeteners."

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"Recently, I had the pleasure of learning how an iconic American food is created when I visited the heart of Vermont’s maple country."

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"Could maple flavor be the next pumpkin spice? The tree-sap syrup is showing up in everything from cereal ingredients to fitness water and beer as consumer demand increases."

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"An unexpected crop could become the future of farming in the northeastern United States. Maple syrup is now seen as a potential agricultural savior for a number of reasons."

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"With growing demand for maple products, conservation groups and farmers alike see a financial incentive to keep carbon-storing woodlands intact."

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"If you’ve ever been tempted to drink maple syrup right out of the bottle, Maine’s maple producers and craft brewers have teamed up to create a delicious – and more dignified – adult alternative: maple beer."

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"Aunt Jemima, who? Vermont-based brand Coombs Family Farm has created a life-changing innovation—the "Maple Stream"—and it's about to revolutionize breakfast."

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"How many times have you meant to drizzle just a smidge of maple syrup on your pancakes or waffles and accidentally ended up flooding your plate with half the jug? If you've ever had that happen, then Maple Stream is for you."

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"Starting in early January, 15-year-old Abby Gagne spends some weekends and afternoons trudging through snow in the 350 acres of woods around her house, helping to “tap” trees. Abby and her family are sugarmakers."

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"A Free Press story about a new sprayable maple syrup bottle seemed uncontroversial enough. But it’s sparked debate inside the Free Press newsroom and beyond."

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"Coombs Family Farms, whose name has been synonymous with maple in Windham County for more than 175 years, has come up with a 21st century innovation."

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With the launch of the first no-mess, spray can of organic grade A amber maple syrup, the owners of the seven-generation Coombs Family Farms hope to “pull the maple industry into the modern era."

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