R/O pre-filters could be the next shortage scare

Peter Gregg | January 11, 2022

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Not time to panic yet but the latest shortage in maple supplies could be R/O pre-filters.

“They’ve been hard to get,” said Sandy Wilcox of Countryside Hardware in DeRuyter, N.Y. who was a featurted vendor at the New York maple conferences this weekend.

“Folks might want to get on to some,” she said.

Wilcox said at her store, one of the biggest suppliers in central New York, the 5 micron, 20-inch prefilters have been easier to find than the 10 micron.

“Those are in low supply or out,” she said.

At Maple Expert Solutions in Henniker, N.H. owner Clayton Christie was hesitant to say there was a shortage just yet.

“I know we are selling them fast and likely won’t have any left soon,” he told The Maple News on Tuesday. MORE ]



Peter Gregg | January 5, 2022

VERNON, N.Y.—Pick one, pick both, pick neither.

Sugarmakers this weekend must pick between the “January Maple Conference” at the Vernon Downs Casino in Vernon, N.Y. and the “Mid-Winter Maple Classic” at the state fairgrounds in Syracuse, N.Y.

Both are scheduled for this Friday and Saturday located just 43 miles apart along the NYS Thruway.

The Mid-Winter Classic show in Syracuse will feature presentations by maple experts from Cornell University, the University of Vermont and Michigan State University.

The Vernon show will feature well-known entertaining speakers like Glenn Goodrich of Cabot, Vt. and Bruce Gillilan, formerly of Leader Evaporator.


China a big potential market for maple

Peter Gregg | January 5, 2022

MORRISVILLE, Vt.—Sugarmakers looking for new opportunity should know China is buying up maple syrup like crazy.

“I look at the data from China and I see a lot of potential,” said Qingpin Wang, Ph.D, a professor of economics at the University of Vermont.

Qingpin was one of the panelists on the “State of the Maple Industry” panel discussion during Vermont Maple Conference Week on Dec 10.

Wang said data on maple sales in China from 2009 shows there was hardly a drop of syrup sold there.

By last year it was up to 260 metric tons.

“That’s a lot of maple syrup,” he said. MORE ]


Red maples might not be so bad after all

Peter Gregg | December 14, 2021

UNDERHILL Ctr., Vt.—Might be time to start loving the reds.

Red maples are getting some attention from maple researchers who are trying to debunk their bad reputation.

“Across the maple industry there are lingering perceptions that the red maple is a ‘less than,’” said Dr. Abby van den Berg of the University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center, during an online seminar on Friday.

Some sugarmakers say they don’t produce much sap and others say they produce an inferior flavor.

But van den Berg said early results from a two-year study on red maples may surprise the haters. MORE ]


Canada still has syrup despite reports in national media

Peter Gregg | December 1, 2021

LONGUEIL, Que—Don’t believe the hype.

A flurry of national news reports this week—including on NBC’s Today Show broadcast yesterday—proclaimed there is a shortage of Canadian syrup.

Not true, says the Quebec maple producers federation.

“There’s no shortage at all,” said Helene Normandin, spokeswoman for the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.

That’s not to say that syrup hasn’t been moving. In fact, it’s selling like hotcakes.

The federation’s Strategic Reserve has been drained of 50 million pounds since the beginning of this year, most of it sold in the United States, which had its worst crop in 10 years.

But there is still another 50 million pounds left in the warehouses near Montreal that make up the Reserve, Normandin said.


Sugarmakers banned from using packing peanuts in New York

Peter Gregg | November 10, 2021

ALBANY, N.Y.—Sugarmakers who package and ship may have to make changes before the end of the year.

The New York State Maple Producers Association is advising sugarmakers that effective Jan. 1, no producer will be allowed to sell products that are packaged in containers containing polystyrene foam.

In addition, producers will prohibited from packaging their mail-order maple products in widely-used polystyrene loose fill packaging—commonly referred to as packing peanuts. MORE ]


Stock up now. DE filter aid in short supply for the season

Peter A Gregg | November 8, 2021

DERUYTER, N.Y.—Don’t wait. Stock up on your DE now.

Sugarmakers are being advised to buy their Diatomaceous Earth (DE) earlier rather than later with supply chain issues causing shortages of the valuable filter aid.

At the open house event at Countryside Hardware on Oct. 23 supplier representatives warned sugarmakers of a shortage of DE.

The Maple News has confirmed with DE manufacturers that the product is in limited supply.

“There is currently a shortage on flux calcined DE driven by supply chain issues domestically but mainly overseas and strong demand,” said John Polychronopoulos, sales manager for Dicalite Management Group, Inc. which manufactures the popular Dicalite brand sold by most maple supply houses.



Maplestitskin! Ohio sugarmaker turns bad syrup into not-so-bad syrup

Paul Post | October 29, 2021

EFFERSON, Ohio—Nate Bissell is the self-proclaimed Rumpelstiltskin of the maple industry.

Somewhat like the Brothers Grimm fairy tale imp, who spun straw into gold, Bissell in September turned a large supply of off-flavor, fermented syrup into a marketable product.

"We called the project Maplestiltskin," said this sixth-generation producer of Bissell Maple Farm in Ashtabula County, Ohio.

"Food companies (including well-known cereal brands) want cleaner labels with fewer ingredients,” he said. "They buy commercial syrup all the time. This market wants a maple syrup that will have a strong flavor, sweeten and add some color and texture. Most people don't even know it exists. That's what this is for."

"Would I put this on my pancakes? Heck no!" he said. "It's not going to be table grade that would win an award. But it would be great in granola. I know of a sausage company that buys $1 million dollars of commercial syrup per year. It's going into sausage, ham and bacon." MORE ]