When International House of Pancakes finally opened a franchise in Vermont (the 50th state to get an IHOP), its General Manager, Sam Handy, Jr., successfully petitioned the franchisor to allow the South Burlington shop to serve real maple syrup, instead of the corn syrup blend that is served at the other approximately 1,400 IHOPs in North America. Handy is quoted in the New York Times as saying, “(Vermont is) a small state, and buying local is important.” He also wants to explore buying eggs and dairy items from local farmers.
So, it seems that fast food, in Vermont anyway, just inched a tiny bit slower.
Not to be outdone, New York Senator Chuck Schumer recently proposed to IHOP CEO Julie Stewart that New York State’s IHOPs similarly wean themselves off their mass-produced toppings and onto maple syrup made in New York. This is not the senator’s first foray into the maple. Last year, he introduced legislation designed to — wait for it — tap into his state’s underused maples by providing incentives to landowners for producing syrup. More information on New York’s maple situation is here.
I love maple syrup, and one in particular, which we have been getting delivered (a luxury) since trying it and many like it on a delightful road trip through New England five summers ago. That syrup is from Sugarbush Farm, in Woodstock, VT, where we got to touch the actual maple trees and learn about the entire tapping and production process. We also learned that we generally prefer the robust Grade A dark amber syrup to the lighter Grade A medium amber, or the even lighter “fancy” syrups.
Lucky me. My daughter and her friend whipped up some French toast for themselves and for me this weekend. We all agreed that it turned out picture-perfect, especially topped with Sugarbush maple syrup and a helping of super-sweet Delta Blue organic blueberries from Stockton, CA., the closest-grown berries we could find.
Photo by Susan Sachs Lipman