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Fall maple conference in Niagara Falls is canceled due to Covid

Peter Gregg | Sept. 2, 2021

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Covid cancelations are back.

After two years of planning and preparation, the “Maple at the Falls” Niagara Falls NAMSC/IMSI meetings scheduled for late October, have been canceled.

The New York State Maple Producers’ Association said in an announcement Thursday that the planning group attempted nearly every avenue to make the meetings work and to ensure that they would be held.

But Canadian border closures and restrictions, a rapidly rising COVID 19 infection rate nationwide, travel restrictions being placed on research presenters/specialists and vendor hesitation left the committee with few choices.

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Quebec to add 7 million new taps instead of 3 million

Peter Gregg | July 21, 2021

LONGUEUIL, Que.—Quebec producers will be adding seven million new taps into their quota system by 2023, dramatically increasing an announced expansion from last month.

“We’re not trying to one-up anybody, we’re looking at it as a business,” said David Hall, a 25,000-tap producer from Cowansville, Que. and a director for the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers federation.

The federation had announced in June a three million tap expansion of its government sanctioned quota system.

But since then the federation hired an actuary to study its current syrup holdings against the marketplace and determined that by December the federation’s warehouses could drain to critically low levels, prompting the release of four million more taps.

Hall said that since the end of the 2021 season, U.S. bulk buyers have stepped up to buy 50 million pounds out of the federation's Global Strategic Reserve, which stockpiles surplus syrup from season to season.

By the end of the year, there could be only 40 million pounds left in the reserve of table grade syrup, Hall said.

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Consumers want to know what state their syrup is coming from, especially from Vermont

Peter Gregg | July 9, 2021

MONTPELIER, Vt.—Consumers are more like to buy maple if the state in which it was produced is identified on the label.

“Consumers really want to see the state branded on their product,” said researcher Matthew George of the Atlantic Corporation, a market research company hired by the Vermont agency of agriculture to study consumer preferences for maple and maple products.

More than 1,800 consumers were polled for their maple preferences in the Northeast-based study titled "Identifying Market Opportunities for Maple Syrup Producers in Vermont.”

More than 36 percent said the geographic origin of their syrup was “very important.”

The research focused on all aspects of maple marketing big and small and is available online at https://www.atlanticcorporation.com/vt-maple-dashboard
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Sugarmakers raising their prices at the sugarhouse and the farm stand

Peter Gregg | June 29, 2021

TEMPLE, N.H.—Sugarmakers are raising farm prices in direct-to-consumer sales.

It is following a trend for just about every consumer staple in the marketplace, from airline tickets to chicken cutlets.

“We upped our price in our gift shop to $75 a gallon,” said Ben Fisk of Fisk’s Maple Syrup in Temple, N.H. during the annual meeting of the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association last month. “We’ll see if it sells. It’s inflation.”

Fisk had been selling a gallon for $60.

At the same meeting, sugarmaker Charlie Hunt of Hunt’s Maple Syrup in Hillsborough, N.H. said he was going to raise his quart prices to $20 as soon as he got home. He was at $17. MORE ]

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Quebec sugarmakers to add 3 million new taps by 2023

Peter Gregg | June 15, 2021

LONGUEUIL, Que.—Quebec’s sugarmakers will be allotted a minimum of 3 million new taps through its quota system by 2023.

The announcement Tuesday of a big tap increase from the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers federation comes on the heels of a short crop and sky high syrup demand around the world.

At the same time, the province's syrup reserve is draining quickly, with zero organic syrup left.

“With a need for supply to keep up with demand, the conclusion is evident, Québec’s maple industry is booming!” said Geneviève Martineau, spokesperson for the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers federation, which governs the production of syrup in the province.

The federation hinted even more taps may be allotted into the province's quota system.

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He finally won it! After four and a half decades of trying N.H. sugarmaker wins top prize for syrup

Peter Gregg | May 24, 2021

BOSCOWEN, N.H.—Persistence pays off.

It took 46 years, but Steven Osborn of Osborn Family Sugar House in Boscowen, N.H. finally won the Carlisle Cup, known formally at the Lawrence A Carlisle Memorial Trophy, the prize for being judged the best syrup in New Hampshire.

“I’ve been chasing this thing a long time,” Osborn said on Saturday, cradling the cup following his win at the annual meeting of the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association held this weekend in Plymouth, N.H.

Osborn, who sugars off of 200 taps with his son Jeff, first started attending NHMPA meetings in 1974, and annually entered his syrup in the association’s judging contest, known to be the most rigorous in the U.S. maple industry.

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On the lookout for abandoned sugarhouses

Peter Gregg | May 7, 2021

FAYSTON, Vt.—A Vermont woman is starting a database of abandoned sugarhouses.

Dori Ross is the founder of The Sugarhouse Project, an online registery of old sugarhouses.

“I have spent a lot of time with old sugarmakers in their sugarhouses, talking to them and listening to their stories,” Ross said. “This rich history needs to be preserved somehow.”
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Season Update #2: Drills blazing, open house weekends canceled except Maine's

Peter Gregg | January 27, 2021

CHERRY VALLEY, N.Y.—Drills are blazing.

Across the Maple Belt sugarmakers were getting taps in hoping to catch an early thaw.

“We got 6,000 in and we're ready,” said Ken Chase of Ern-Joy Farm in Cherry Valley, N.Y.

Chase had been tapping for three weeks straight, saying he learned a lesson three years ago when he waited to tap and missed out on some January runs. Last year he was tapped by mid January and it paid off. He made 110 gallons of January syrup.

The forecast for the remainder of January doesn’t indicate any such luck this year. Still, Chase feels he did the right thing.

“At some point it’s gonna thaw and we’ll be ready,” Chase said. MORE ]