Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF), a USDA accredited organic certification agency, is the largest certifier of organic maple products in the country! Our staff understands maple production in Vermont and is the local choice for organic maple certification. VOF certifies farmers and processors to the National Organic Program (NOP) standards, which ensures that producers are achieving the necessary requirements for organic certification.
VOF staff are available to assist you throughout the entire certification process with transparency and timeliness. This page is meant to be a resource for all the information you will need to become a successful certified organic maple operation.
The process for organic certification takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks from the time we receive your completed application and minimum certification fee payment. Take a moment to read more about the certification process. Because the certification process can take up to 8 weeks, we strongly encourage new producers to apply as early as possible - even before maple season begins.
Important note: you must have your organic certificate in hand before you begin marketing any product as organic. This includes the sale of sap to a producer who plans to boil the sap into organic maple syrup. It is not enough to be "in process" for certification. You must be certified organic before you sell any sap or syrup as organic.
The most important part of starting your journey to becoming certified organic for maple products is to read and understand the Guidelines for Organic Maple Products(pdf). It is critical that all maple producers read and understand these guidelines. You may be surprised by some of the record keeping or forest management requirements of organic maple certification! You may also choose to read through the entire VOF Organic Maple Certification Welcome Packet, which includes a readiness checklist, the complete maple guidelines, certification fee information, and more.
Once you have read the maple guidelines, you may want to start preparing some of the required paperwork for your application (sometimes called "organic system plan"). You will want to complete a new sugarbush form for each bush you plan to tap. If you have co-management rights for any of the parcels used to collect sap, you will need to complete a Land Use Affidavit for each leased sugarbush.
VOF has developed an eligibility check list for maple producers to determine if you are ready for organic certification. VOF has also developed a checklist for foresters which you may provide to your consulting forester to ensure that your Forest Management Plan complies with VOF guidelines.
Once you have read the guidelines, looked through the eligibility check list, and begun to collect the necessary documentation, you are ready to contact the VOF office to request access to our online application portal. We are also ready to answer any questions you might have about the guidelines or the process! Applications for organic certification are only available via our online portal (or in paper form if requested) and you must contact our office and speak with a Certification Specialist before you receive access to the application.
Ready to apply? Contact our office by emailing [email protected] or calling 802-434-3821. We look forward to certifying you!