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Sap & Syrup

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Bulk market flat this summer

Peter Gregg | November 21, 2018

ALSTEAD, N.H.—The bulk market is holding its own this fall, with little changed from the spring other than there is more syrup out there than predicted.
“I think the crop is at least as big as last year’s,” said Bruce Bascom of Bascom Maple Farms, one of the biggest on-site bulk buyers in the Northeast.
Bascom said syrup coming out of the field has continued to show up at his warehouse door throughout the summer and early fall.
“We’ve been getting five pick-up loads per day five days per week,” Bascom said last month.
The general bulk price has remained unchanged since the spring. MORE ]

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Tips from an expert: Selling on Amazon

Paul Post, Peter Gregg | October 9, 2018

PUTNEY, Vt.—Peter Cooper-Ellis spent more than three decades in the Silicon Valley, where he worked at four different successful software start-up companies.

But the Brattleboro, Vt. native never lost his love for Mother Nature’'s sweetest natural product. His family has been in the maple business for more than a half century.

So he combined his passion for the industry and technology to start Putney, Vt.-based Hidden Springs Maple. At first, he ran the company remotely, with help from family members, while still living in California, before coming home to the Green Mountain State two-and-a-half years ago.

Cooper-Ellis explained how his firm has grown and how sugar makers can expand their own sales, in the workshop, “Strategies for Online Marketing of Maple Products” at the 2018 Vermont Maple Conference & Tradeshow last winter.

"“What we’'re selling here is an experience of Vermont,"” he said. “"We have a huge value in the brand of Vermont. We try to leverage that. Many customers have been to Vermont and they want to stay in touch with it."”

What better way than with an online purchase of maple product?

"“Our mission is to use the power of the Internet to sell maple,"” he said. “"That'’s what we’'ve been doing.”" MORE ]

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Canada slaps a 10 percent tariff on U.S. syrup

Peter Gregg | July 2, 2018

OTTAWA, Ont.—Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau imposed a retaliatory ten percent tariff on maple sugar and maple syrup this week, one of hundreds of items targeted in a mounting trade war.

“These countermeasures will take effect on July 1, 2018 and will remain in place until the U.S. eliminates trade-restrictive measures against Canadian steel and aluminum products,” Trudeau’s government said in a statement Sunday.

The U.S. exports approximately $12 million in maple products to the country, according to government statistics. Most of that syrup originates in Maine. MORE ]

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Syrup demand continues at an all-time high

Peter Gregg | Feb. 23, 2018

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.—As sugarmakers go into another season, bulk prices are holding low. But demand for syrup is at an all time high.

“Demand is very good and we’re very bullish on the future,” said John Kingston, chief executive officer of Butternut Mountain Farms in Morrisville, Vt., one of the biggest bulk syrup buyers in the U.S.
MORE ]

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Colleges tap into maple education

Mike Rechlin | Oct. 11, 2017

The maple syrup industry has always had important links to Colleges and Universities. As an industry that continues to go through rapid changes in technology, we rely heavily on university research to drive innovation and change. MORE ]

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When buying sap, many factors can affect price

Michael Farrell | July 8, 2017

Many sugarmakers buy sap as a means of augmenting their own syrup production and getting better utilization of the equipment in their sugarhouse.

There are many factors that can and should affect the prices a sugarmaker is willing to pay for sap. These include sap sugar concentration, bulk syrup prices, sap quality, and how syrup production or revenues will be divided. MORE ]

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U.S. sets modern day record in maple production

Peter Gregg | June 9

Sugarmakers in the U.S. had another monster year with more than 4.2 million gallons produced this spring, breaking yet another record, according to statistics complied by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, a branch of the USDA.
In all, the United States production was 4,271,000 gallons of syrup made, beating last year’s total of 4,207,000 and setting yet another modern day record. MORE ]

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Season rocking for some, others praying for a reset

Peter Gregg | March 4, 2017

Sugarmakers were hoping for a reset this weekend, as temperatures are expected to drop well below zero and hopefully stalling swelling trees.
“The buds are fat in my warmer woods,” said Richard Brodmerkle, a sugarmaker in Oakham, Mass. who has been boiling since mid-January on his 1,250 taps. MORE ]

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Ohio sugarmaker ‘all in’ on bourbon syrup

Peter Gregg | January 2016

Nate Bissell is quickly becoming the industry’s number one syrup ruiner.

That’s the tongue in cheek way he describes his fledgling operation where he takes good syrup and pours it into old bourbon barrels and lets it sit for nine months.

The result? A smooth, extremely flavorful syrup that tastes almost exactly like bourbon and fetches an incredible price in urban markets. Two bucks an ounce, in some cases. MORE ]

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Filtering and D.E. changes make for easier canning

Peter Gregg | January 2017

A couple years ago, sugarmaker Rick Newman was sitting around a table with a group of other sugarmakers who serve on the Cornell Maple Advisory Committee, and he surmised that filtering was becoming more of a problem at his sugarhouse and that maybe it was an issue worth exploring.
He got an unanimous consent. MORE ]

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Capping the sap, plantation sugaring in Vermont

Peter Gregg | December 2016

Some people are calling it Frankenmaple.
The new plantation style sugaring system developed by the University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center has had the industry abuzz since it was first unveiled three years ago.
MORE ]

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EcoVap electric evaporator catching on

Peter Gregg |

Dominion & Grimm's new evaporator technology, the EcoVap, makes making syrup as easy as turning on the dishwasher at night before you go to bed.

It runs on electricity. That’s right, electricity. MORE ]

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Expect significantly lower bulk syrup prices in 2016

Michael Farrell |

Bulk syrup prices are expected to be significantly lower when you go to sell your crop this spring, and it has absolutely nothing to do with how much syrup is made. With most agricultural products, prices are usually correlated with the size of the harvest. If there is a shortage, prices will rise and if there is a surplus, then prices will likely fall.
MORE ]

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Sugarmakers boil 41% sap

Peter Gregg | May 2015

The maple industry may be one step closer to making syrup without boiling sap. MORE ]

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'Autumn Blend'

Peter Gregg |

Some call it defying Mother Nature, others would call it taking advantage of her, but the fall tappers are at it again.

"I only planned on having enough sap to boil on the stove," said Cody Armstrong, one of the few brave souls who tapped trees this fall. "I thought it would be cool." MORE ]

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Logs to lumber

By Peter Smallidge, Cornell University | Nov. 2015

A common feature of managed woods, and an aspect that has made them popular among farmers, woodlot owners and maple producers is the potential to harvest logs and produce boards. MORE ]