New Leaf Tree Syrups by The Forest Farmers makes sweet debut

Peter Gregg | August 29, 2019

MARSHFIELD, Vt.—Beech syrup? Really?

New Leaf Tree Syrups, the marketing brand of The Forest Farmers which operate sugarhouses in Marshfield, Vt. and Ellenburg, N.Y., announced a new specialty line of organic tree syrups which include American Beech, birch syrup, walnut and of course maple.

“We’re excited to introduce people to a whole new world of tree syrups,” said Dr. Michael Farrell, CEO of New Leaf Tree Syrups. Farrell is the former head of Cornell University’s maple research center in Lake Placid, N.Y. who helped launch the new private operation in 2017, taking his research skills to the private sector.


Maple booming in New York

Paul Post, Peter Gregg | July 7, 2019

HARPERSFIELD, N.Y.—A newly-released USDA Agriculture Census report says maple operations increased 15 percent across New York from 2012-17.

There are now 1,662 maple businesses in the state, according to the ag census, indicating significant industry growth, which could increase opportunities for obtaining state and federal funding to enhance maple production, research and marketing efforts.

“Am I surprised to learn it? Not at all,” said Keith Schiebel, coordinator of the New York State Maple Producers Association’s annual open house weekends and the Mid-Winter Classic maple show in January. “Before, a lot of people supplemented their farm incomes with maple. Now you’re seeing more and more people making their livelihood solely on maple. It’s not just a seasonal thing anymore.”


Industry leaders ponder the future of maple

Peter Gregg | May 13, 2019

HYDE PARK, Vt.—Tap expansion is slowing but the syrup market and overall maple economy remains strong.

This was the opinion of four industry leaders during a “State of the Industry” roundtable discussion at the Hyde Park Maple School in Northern Vt. this winter.

“I’m positive about the overall state of maple,” said Bradley Gillilan, president of Leader Evaporator Co., the nation’s biggest equipment manufacturer.

But Gillilan and Bruce Bascom, owner of Bascom Maple Farms in Alstead, N.H. both concurred that the rapid adding of taps over the past ten years is waning.

“Expansion is definitely slowing down,” Bascom said.


Dealer open houses and Vermont Maple Festival this weekend

Peter Gregg | April 25, 2019

SWANTON, Vt.—The big maple equipment manufacturers will be hosting open houses this weekend in Franklin County, Vt. where producers can see demonstrations and seminars and enjoy big discounts on equipment orders for next season.

Seven dealer open houses will be starting tomorrow morning and through Saturday afternoon, all within a few miles of each other in Franklin County, Vt.

Running at the same time will be the can’t-miss 53rd Vermont Maple Festival in St. Albans, Vt., which features maple exhibits, a grand parade and a banquet to crown the Vermont Maple Royalty for 2019. MORE ]


Loans available for farm storage facilities for maple

Peter Gregg | April 15, 2019

WASHINGTON — The USDA’s Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program provides low-interest financing to producers to build or upgrade storage facilities and to purchase portable (new or used) structures, equipment and storage and handling trucks.

The program includes provisions for maple production.

The low-interest funds can be used to build or upgrade permanent facilities to store sap and syrup.


Season Update #8: Season finishing strong for most

Peter Gregg | April 12, 2019

HARRISVILLE, N.H.—The season is turning around in a hurry, with big sap runs finishing out what had been a sluggish season and making it into a winner.

“We’ve been boiling for the last 16 days straight,” said Jillian Miner, who with husband Jon makes syrup off 800 taps at Grand Monadnock Maple Farm in Harrisville, N.H. “We’re tired.”

The Miners were coming to the end of their season during a tour for The Maple News on Saturday, April 6 and had broke 300 gallons of production for the first time in their sugaring career.

“We’re running out of containers,” Miner said.


Season Update #7: Season catches up in a hurry

Peter Gregg | April 5, 2019

ELLENBURG CTR., N.Y.—The season is catching up fast, with an ocean of sap in the East this week.

“We’re overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Joy Herfurth of 10,000-tap Brandy Brook Maple Farm in Ellenburg Center, N.Y., near the Canadian border.

Herfurth said she got 22,600 gallons of sap in 36 hours from Tuesday into Wednesday of this week.

“That’s a record for us,” she said. “Our biggest holding tank is 4,000 gallons. So it was crazy.”

Like many in the Northeast, Herfurth had earlier worried about the late start. But that’s all changed now.

“We might run out of barrels,” she said.


Season Update #6: Midwest comes to life; Big sap runs in the Northeast

Peter Gregg | March 29, 2019

CADOTT, Wisc.—Sap was running everywhere this week, even in the Midwest which had barely started only a week ago.

“It’s running good here in some areas but the North is still a little slow,” said Peter Roth of Roth Sugar Bush in Cadott, Wisc.

Roth estimated he was at about 35 percent of a crop at his farm in Cadott, Wisc. as of this week.

Chris Ransom of Vadnais Heights, Minn. and president of the Minnesota Maple Producers Association said the season in his state was just starting to wake up after a harsh winter, but generally not too far off a typical start time for the season.

“At my place anyway, my average first sap run has been on about March 10 each year. This year it was the 15th so not much of a delay,” Ransom told the Maple News on Friday, March 29.

“I’d say we're at the beginning of the season and that most people are optimistic that the weather patterns are ‘textbook’ for sapping for the next week or so,” he said. MORE ]