GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — Vermont is known for its maple syrup. Now there’s an effort underway to see if New Jersey can imitate the sweet success.
New Jersey has had a great development in its wine industry in recent years. Now officials are trying to tap into a new agricultural business.
Taking a power tool to a tree isn’t exactly what you’d expect to see an environmental science processor doing on a college campus. But these little nicks could someday save acres of woods as Stockton University tries to tap into the potential of a new maple syrup industry in New Jersey.
“We’re really trying to convince the community around Stockton and in New Jersey and surrounding areas that this is a commodity that they can exploit without harming the forest,” assistant professor Aaron Stoler said.
Sugar maples, which are the most efficient for making syrup, mostly grow in New England and Canada, which is why those are have cornered the syrup market for so long.
But red maples, which are abundant in New Jersey, are also capable of producing sweet sap.
“Red maple leaves will be dark in color when they’re fallen on the floor and you have serrated edges on the sides,” Stoler said.
With winter turning to spring and sap production coming into peak season, Stockton just started tapping trees.
It only takes about two minutes to do and just requires a couple-dollar tap, some plastic tube and a bucket.
Researchers want to learn how much sap red maple trees produce and how tapping them will impact the trees.
“How it will change the tree itself, how it will change the wildlife,” Stoler said.
If the red maple project goes will, Stockton students and staff could be tapping into a new source of revenue and means to prevent deforestation in New Jersey.
“This sort of project is really interesting. Being able to get hands-on experience in this cutting-edge technology is a great advantage for the students,” student Josh Alcoba said.
So whether you have a single maple tree in your yard, or you own land with lots of maple trees, Stockton University will work with you in setting up your own sap tapping project.