BANGOR — Maine has a strong reputation for selling maple syrup. Could birch syrup be next?
Birch syrup is piquing the interest of Mainers.
However, as it stands, producers of birch syrup have a way to go before they can gain traction in sales.
“Yet birch syrup is considered a processed food, rather than an agricultural product for licensing and sales,” said Rep. Mary Anne Kinney, R-Knox.
She said without licensing it is a more complicated process than it is to make maple syrup.
According to Kinney, it may be even more valuable than maple syrup.
“On average it takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to produce a gallon of maple syrup,” said Kinney. “Birch is a little bit more.”
Max Couture, a farmer and a producer of birch syrup, said there is a lot of potential for the niche product.
“Maine has the most tappable birch trees in Maine, by far, in the lower 48 states,” Couture said.
If the bill is passed, he said, it could be an easy transition for maple producers.
“It is a way for folks to produce a second product by extending the sugar season and extending the use of their equipment,” he said.
The legislature’s Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry heard from those in favor of the bill.