person pouring syrup into pancake

Welcome to New Jersey, a state famed for Tony Soprano and Turnpike tolls. But now, it’s making waves for its unexpected addition: maple syrup! Nestled in Galloway Township, Stockton University is leading a syrup-making revolution that’s putting the Garden State on the map.

Ryan Hegarty, assistant director of the Maple Project, explains the process:

“We use a high-pressure membrane to separate sugar and water molecules, enabling us to produce syrup even from sub-optimal trees.”

Ryan Hegarty, assistant director of the Maple Project
honey filled bottle on the table

With a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Stockton University has been tapping into the potential of southern New Jersey’s maple trees. Spearheaded by Judith Vogel, a mathematics professor, and director of the Stockton Maple Project. The initiative aims to create a thriving syrup industry in a region better known for casinos and pine forests.

Utilizing red maples, common in southern New Jersey. The project is challenging the notion that only Vermont can produce top-quality syrup. Despite red maples having half the sugar content of their Vermont counterparts. Stockton is proving that where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Despite initial skepticism, the project is gaining traction. Charlize Katzenbach, a veteran maple syrup producer, notes the growing demand for locally sourced food. In 2022, New Jersey produced 1,817 gallons of syrup, worth $88,000, carving out a niche in the market.

But challenges persist, including New Jersey’s warmer climate and fluctuating sap flow. Yet, Stockton remains undeterred, with plans to expand partnerships and introduce its syrup to a wider audience.

As the project continues to flourish. One thing is clear: New Jersey’s syrup is as good as any. Offering a sweet taste of success that’s putting the state on the syrup-making map.

By Editor