Season Update #5: The season comes alive for some, still a trickle for north

Peter Gregg | March 22, 2019

SUNDERLAND, Vt. — The season is finally opening up in the central strip of the Maple Belt, with some sugarmakers buried in sap this week.

“It’s going to run like crazy,” said sugarmaker Jim Hayden of Sunderland, Vt. as he was boiling on Tuesday, March 20.

And sure enough it did, with an ocean of sap coming in during the 50 degree day on Wednesday in central and southern Vermont and neighboring New York. Sap ran through the night and into Thursday.

“I am sleep deprived,” said sugarmaker Tim Dwyer of Shushan, N.Y. MORE ]


Season Update #4: Season slowly starts to wake up in Northeast

Peter Gregg | March 14, 2019

HARDWICK, N.J. — The season is just starting to wake up in the Northeast late this week, while others in the southern areas of the U.S. Maple Belt are on a record pace.

“I’ve boiled 13 times already,” said Tom Phillips, who is boiling off 1,041 taps in Hardwick, N.J. and enjoying his best season ever.

“This year has been perfect temperatures,” he said. “Here it warms up just enough to get a good run and then freezes up again.

Phillips said most of his crop so far has been lighter grades of syrup, a flip flop from the last two years when it was all dark.

“I’ve made 90 percent light so far,” Phillips said on Tuesday during a tour for The Maple News. MORE ]


U.S. agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue tours Vermont sugarhouse

Peter Gregg | March 8, 2019

MILTON, Vt. — U.S. agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue on Friday toured 160,000-tap Georgia Mountain Maples, tapping the ceremonial first tree of the 2019 maple season with Vermont Gov. Phil Scott. and a group of second graders from a nearby school.

It was the first known visit of a sugarhouse by a U.S. agriculture secretary in modern history.

“What we saw here today was an experience here for me,” Perdue said. “I’ve never tapped a maple tree before.”

Perdue, who hails from the state of Georgia and is the former governor of that state, said he was impressed by the operation, owned by the Harrison Family and a showcase facility in the country’s biggest maple state.

“It was good to come and see a modern plant here,” the secretary said of the sugarhouse, which sits on a ledge at the base of Georgia Mountain. “I was blown away that Vermont produces half the syrup the U.S. consumes. I’m happy to be here during maple tapping season.” MORE ]


Wisconsin sugarmakers cry foul over misleading Menards syrup ad

Peter Gregg | March 7, 2019

MENOMONIE, Wisc.—Sugarmaker Mark Casper said producers in Wisconsin were upset with an apparent mislabeling mixup by Midwest homestore megachain Menards, which was selling Canadian syrup on its website with a “Made in U.S.A.” banner.

As of last week, the superstore chain was advertising Canadian syrup from Bernard & Sons, one of the biggest packers in Quebec, as being “Made in the USA.” The store was selling quarts of the Bernard syrup on its site for $8.99.

The ad has since been changed, with the Made in U.S.A. tag removed. MORE ]


Gov. Sununu kicks off 2019 season in New Hampshire

Peter Gregg | March 5, 2019

HENNIKER, N.H.— Gov. Christopher T. Sununu of New Hampshire tapped the official first maple tree of the state's 2019 sugaring season Monday at a ceremony at Intervale Pancake House in Henniker, N.H.

"We have those guys to the west who think they do it better than we do, but they don’t,” Sununu joked about neighboring Vermont, where the governor of that state plans to tap a ceremonial first tree on Friday at Georgia Mountain Maples in Fairfax, Vt.

Sununu spent more than an hour touring the Intervale facility in Henniker, N.H., visiting with owners Patrick and Melanie Connor and daughter Shelbie Connor who manages the dining room at the popular restaurant and sugarhouse.


Season Update #3: Sugarmakers mostly idle, but some have made syrup

Peter Gregg | March 1, 2019

HAMPDEN, Mass.—The 2019 season is still mostly on stand-by but for a few warm-wooded sugarmakers.

“I haven’t done nothing,” Thomas LeRay of Sweet Water Sugarhouse in Royalton, Mass. said on Friday, March 1. “I’ll start tapping on Monday. What’s the sense of tapping sooner and have the sap just sit there?”

Sugarmakers across the Maple Belt have been mostly idle, with a little bit of syrup made last weekend. Most have been frozen solid or buried in snow, or both.

“We got about a foot of snow and 40 mph winds,” said sugarmaker Mark Casper of Menomonie, Wisc. on Feb. 26. “Almost every county and township road in my county was impassable because of drifts up to 13 feet. It’s going to be a rough one trying to get started syruping.”


Season Update #2: In Vermont, a slow start to season so far and that's ok

Peter Gregg | February 15, 2019

WALINGFORD, Vt.—Vermont maple syrup producers have gotten off to a slow start to the season.

But most sugarmakers are characterizing it as a return to “normal” after several years of warm winter sugaring.

“In a normal year, this would be normal,” said 5,500-tap sugarmaker Steve Berger on Friday, Feb. 15, who was just getting into the woods to tap for the first time this season.

“Five or six years ago, we wouldn’t be doing anything in February,” he said.

Indeed the last four to five years have seen Vermont sugarmakers making big portions of their crop in January and February.

Not this year. MORE ]


Verona maple show moves to Syracuse

Keith Schiebel | January 3, 2019

SYRACUSE, N.Y. —A New Year means one thing to maple producers …must be conference time!

For the past 19 years, that meant travel to Verona. Not this year. Travel a bit further down the New York Thruway…or a bit our new home in Syracuse.

With the same anticipation as firing up a new RO for the first time or adding a new vacuum pump to a collection system, the January Maple Conference is transforming into a new standard for the maple industry…a classic!

Welcome to the 24th Annual Maple Conference and the inaugural "Mid-Winter Maple Classic" at the New York State Fair! We are confident that we’ll have another highly successful show and welcome your participation. With our new location comes new surroundings, new procedures, and a fresh approach to improving an already fantastic show; we think you’ll agree that the new host site is an exceptional facility for our event.

This year’s Mid-Winter Maple Classic is this Friday and Saturday, January 4th and 5th, 2019.

If you have not pre-registered, you can still join us and register at-the-door...but you may need to make plans now. At least the weather won’t be a factor. Friday’s general admission registration opens at 4:00 PM and the show closes Friday at 9:00 PM. Saturday’s general admission registration opens at 7:30 AM and ends at 4:00 PM.

The State Fair’s address is: 581 State Fair Boulevard, Syracuse, NY. Very easy access off Interstate 690. Enter Gate #2. At the security station, state to guard that you are attending the maple show. Drive straight ahead past Fair buildings to the middle of the Fairgrounds. Follow signs and/or direction of parking attendants to parking for Maple Show / Horticulture Building.