A sweet coalition begins

Published 2:25 pm Thursday, July 15, 2021

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One of the east coast’s oldest agricultural activities is finding its sweet spot among Virginia’s most celebrated home-grown commodities.

More than 100 maple and tree syrup producers are being contacted to form a new statewide coalition, initiated by researchers at Virginia Tech’s Department of Sustainable Biomaterials in the College of Natural Resources and Environment. With an association’s support, Virginia can be recognized for its rich, high-quality tree syrups, cohesively marketed and certified among the finest in North America.

Guinevere Unterbrink, a wildlife conservation student at Virginia Tech, is tracking down tree syrup producers in Virginia, no matter the size or scale of their operations.

Aside from support and resources, the coalition will ultimately raise public awareness about locally accessible Virginia-made tree syrups and value-added products.

Syrups are mostly produced in western areas of Virginia, but the positive economic implications of a syrup coalition’s marketing power may be felt statewide.