ANTIGONISH, N.S.—Jason Haverkort has weathered quite a few storms during his years as a veteran Nova Scotia sugarmaker.
Nothing compares to the devastating fury wrought by Hurricane Fiona that slammed eastern Canada, leaving behind a nearly $1.5 billion path of destruction in its wake.
The tempest, packing more than 110 mph winds, hit during the late-night hours of Friday, September 23. Those who could sleep, awoke to unimaginable damage the next day.
“Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine such devastation,” said Haverkort, owner of Haveracres Maple Farm in northeast Nova Scotia.
“I have areas of complete write off, only a few twigs left standing. Most areas suffered a 50 percent or greater loss of tappable trees. We’re estimating 6,000 of our 12,000 trees to be blown down. The wind seemed to funnel up the valleys and flattened trees in its path. Some of the trees left standing are in rough shape also, many with broken branches.”
His sugarhouse somehow escaped unscathed, but trees came down all over his pipeline system, which has to be cut and spliced in many places. “I have been on a pipeline replacement schedule for a few years, but now it should all be replaced ,” he said.
Haverkort plans to tap whatever healthy trees are left, but expects more than a 50 percent loss of income from Fiona. “I couldn’t survive a year with no income,” he said.
But for some maple operations, there is no future. [ MORE ]
SOMERSET, Pa.—Turner’s Dairy in Western Pennsylvania is featuring a limited edition Maple Milk, made with real maple syrup from Emerick’s Maple in Somerset, Pa.
Turner’s partners with local independent farmers to bring the best tasting products to the community.
The company releases limited edition, flavored milks throughout the year.
The Maple Milk is being sold in quarts and pints.
"The official release was on October 10, and we expect to run out sometime during the week of November 14," said Turner's spokeswoman Adriana Mazzotta. [ MORE ]
BURTON, Ohio—Maple grading and maple quality have become major topics at just about every maple syrup meeting.
Why has this topic taken on a new sense of importance? What is driving this interest?
As the popularity of maple syrup products continues to grow, we are introducing more new customers to pure maple syrup.
As interest grows, so does the number of questions about content, grading and nutritional value.
Consumers ask! What is the difference between pure maple syrup and table syrup? Is this a superior product to table syrup and is it worth the price they are paying for it?
In most stores you find maple syrup right above the pancake flour.
The shelf space is minimal and is often shared with Log Cabin, Mrs. Butterworths, and other corn syrup derivatives. [ MORE ]
TURNERS FALLS, Mass.—The new company that recently bought out Sugarhill Containers is promising to dramatically speed up lead times for sugarmakers to get delivery of plastic molded jugs with custom printing.
“We’re working very hard to aggressively address the backlog,” said Sean R. Fallmann, President and CEO of Atlanta-based Altium Packaging, which in August bought out Plastic Industries, the parent company of Sugarhill.
Fallmann told The Maple News on Tuesday that his company hopes to return to an eight to 12 week lead time for sugarmakers to place an order and receive delivery of screen printed jugs, a longtime favorite container for producers.
"That is our goal and we want to get back to that as quickly as possible," Fallmann said. [ MORE ]
UNDERHILL, Vt.—More love for red maple.
Sugarmakers are flocking to new research from the University of Vermont that shows red maples produce nearly the same amount of sap and sugar as its cousin the sugar maple.
“There is really no difference between what the reds and the sugars are doing of the course of a season,” said Dr. Abby van den Berg of the UVM Proctor Maple Research Center. She gave a presentation on reds at Bascom Maple Farms open house recently.
Van den Berg conducted her study on reds in 2020 and 2021 and this past season conducted further research by segregating sap from the two species and boiling it side by side in two evaporators. [ MORE ]
PETERSBURG, W.V.—Sugarmakers Gary Mongold and Mark Bowers are developing a commercial use for pectin, a residual ooze that sometimes forms in walnut syrup during production.
Mongold, who operates 700-tap Mongold Walnut Farm in Petersburg, W.V. where Bowers also taps maples, made a recent discovery about an alternative use for pectin.
“I heard on the radio a story about how the Mayo Clinic was saying pectin was good for arthritis,” Mongold told The Maple News, during an interview at the West Virginia Maple Producers Association annual meeting this spring.
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UNDERHILL, Vt.—The most comprehensive resource for sugarmakers just got better!
The Third edition of the North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual has a new chapter on food safety, as well as updated chapters on sap, syrup, and value-added product production based on the most recent research and modest updates to other chapters.
Remaining chapters have had modest updates.
There are sections on sugarbush management, economics of maple businesses, marketing, and more.
The 434-page Manual is available for free download - just send a blank email to email@example.com and you will automatically receive a link.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Sugarmakers may want to rethink how they market syrup because many things they’ve been doing up until now have been wrong, according to new market research.
“U.S. consumers are not familiar and confident about what they know about maple syrup,” said Helen Thomas, executive director of the New York State Maple Producers Association, which co-sponsored a market research study this spring.
More than 1600 consumers were surveyed, including in-person focus groups in six major U.S. cities as part of a study funded by the USDA Acer grant program. The results were revealed during a Zoom meeting this week with the International Maple Syrup Institute.
“A lot of people think they know maple syrup but they don’t,” Thomas said. “There was confusion on what maple syrup really was.”
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