Coconut water has become a mainstay on grocery store shelves as the king of all-natural health drinks, but it may be hiding a dirty secret. In recent years, there has been criticism of the refreshing beverage surrounding its health claims, the alleged exploitation of those employed in third world plantations, and some not-so-sustainable coco palm farming practices. Whether these allegation are founded is up for debate, but the latest health drink craze to hit the American market has coconut water beat hands-down when it comes to the size of its carbon footprint. It’s all-natural, sustainable, and – if you live in New England – it’s as local as it gets.

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Most people love the flavor of maple syrup, but few realize that it doesn’t flow out of maple trees in such a sweet, viscous form. What comes out of a maple tap is quite watery and has only a hint of the sweetness and flavor of maple syrup. Maple water, as it’s called, is a delicious, refreshing beverage laden with nutrients and minerals and is available now at a store near you. It’s a wonder no one thought of marketing the stuff before!

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There are a few companies out there that have begun to market maple water – mostly in Canada – but this spring, Vertical Water, a company that taps trees across upstate New York, officially launched its maple water product. It was developed in conjunction with Cornell University as a method of encouraging forest owners to preserve their land. There are millions of sugar maple trees in New England, but most are not tapped for maple syrup because there’s just not that much demand. Vertical Water is produced by Feronia Forests, which is a certified B corporation, meaning it has met rigorous standards of environmental and social responsibility. If Vertical Water takes over the health drink market as it’s hoping to do, there will be a strong incentive to preserve the existing maple forests of the region that are otherwise threatened by suburban development in many areas.

+ Vertical Water

Lead image via Vertical Water Facebook page