Did you know that maple syrup is produced in Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture? We interviewed Mr. Masaaki Nashimoto, who is working to make maple syrup a specialty in Maki Ward, Joetsu City.
Masaaki Nashimoto, who is working to make maple syrup a specialty, began researching maple syrup about 10 years ago, commercialized it three years ago, and began selling it as a specialty of Maki Ward.
The current population of Maki Ward is approximately 1,500 due to the declining birthrate. I started this project to revitalize the community. I thought of an industry that makes use of the mountains in Maki Ward.”
It is the sap of the Japanese maple tree, the raw material for maple syrup. It is clear and colorless, with a hint of sweetness.
Japanese maples are deciduous trees found mainly in the mountainous regions of Japan. Maples have the characteristic of producing sap in winter to protect themselves from the cold, and can be collected every year at this time.
On Monday, February 5, we went into the mountains to collect sap by drilling a 1.2 cm diameter hole in the trunk of a Japanese maple tree in about 1 meter and 50 cm of snow.
Holes drilled for sap collection will regenerate and close this fall.
About 30 liters of sap can be obtained from one maple tree in three days. According to Mr. Nashimoto, the summer heat wave has not affected the sap collection, so the collection is going on as usual.
This season we plan to collect sap from 40 maple trees in the pasture area. The sap will be boiled for two days to a sugar content of 66 degrees. Only 1/60th, or about 50 milliliters, of maple syrup is produced from 3 liters of sap.
You can judge the quality by the color. Gold’ with brilliance and transparency is the highest quality. Taste it directly.
Sap collection will take place throughout the month.
We would like to offer hands-on (sap) collection tours and have many people come to the Maki District.”
Itaya maple maple syrup “Yukiguni Fuuto” (snow maple sugar) will be sold from mid-April at Maki Ward’s antenna store Makitteiine and other stores.