LONGUEUIL, Que.—It’s official. A short crop in Quebec and the provincial governing body regulating maple may allot more taps to cover the shortfall.
The Québec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) federation reported its 6,314 sugarmaker members made 133 million pounds of syrup. Producers in the province put out 48.3 million taps.
The warm temperatures experienced across Québec in April brought about an unusual occurrence: all maple syrup producing regions saw their harvest seasons begin – and end prematurely – at the same time.
Meanwhile, the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve holds enough stock to meet the industry’s short-and medium-term needs for “conventional” product, the federation said.
In April, federation officials said the reserve held 106 million pounds in barrels, some of which are from crops as far back as 10 years ago. [ MORE ]
WASHINGTON, D.C.—It’s official. A lousy maple crop in the U.S. but maybe not as bad as first thought.
Sugarmakers in the U.S. made 3.42 million gallons of maple syrup this season, with Vermont leading the way, followed by New York and Maine, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, a branch of the USDA.
Last year’s crop was 4.11 million gallons nationwide.
While some areas fared much worse than others, the maple crop overall was 83 percent of last year’s production, not quite as bad as some forecasts of 75 or 65 percent of last year’s big crop.
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COWANSVILLE, Que.—Quebec’s crop is significantly down from last year but there’s still plenty of syrup in warehouses.
“We’re going to be 30 million pounds less than last year, is my educated guess,” said David Hall, a 21,000-tap producer in Cowansville, Que. and a director for the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.
Even though the far eastern sugarbushes in the province were still producing late this week, most in Quebec had shut down due to high temperatures and a notoriously low sugar content in the sap, plaguing producers all season.
“Everybody got lots of sap but there just no sugar in it,” Hall said.
Hall squelched a rumor that the federation was scrambling an emergency meeting this week to discuss the short crop. In fact, he said there is still plenty of syrup in storage to satisfy the marketplace through the year.
“I don’t think there’s a whole lot of panic out there,” Hall said. “There’s lots of syrup. It’s possible the numbers could come in a little better when it’s all done.” [ MORE ]
ALSTEAD, N.H.—With possibly the worst U.S. crop since at least 2012, bulk prices are jumping up this week.
“As of today, April 9, we have increased our field-run buy prices substantially to the producers,” said Bruce Bascom of Bascom Maple Farms in Alstead, N.H. in an announcement to The Maple News.
Bascom said he will be paying $2.40 per pound for Golden Delicate, $2.30 for Amber Rich, $2.20 for Dark Robust and $2.00 for Very Dark Strong.
Producers who are certified organic will receive upwards of a 20 cent premium on top of that, Bascom said.
Other buyers are also bumping their buy prices this week.
Ben Fisk, president of Ben’s Pure Maple Products in Temple, N.H. also contacted The Maple News on Friday to announce he is looking for 1.5 million pounds of syrup. And will pay top dollar. [ MORE ]
LIMERICK, Maine—Not much sap but lots of visitors in Maine.
It was a big bust of a maple season for most in Maine, where sugarmakers were already pulling their taps.
“Not a great season,” said Aaron Carroll of Alderwood Farm in Limerick, Maine. “It was down quite a bit.”
Carroll said he made just 50 gallons off his 750 taps and pulled his taps on Sunday.
‘It was in the 60s all week here so we’re pretty much done,” he told The Maple News.
But what Carroll and other Maine sugarmakers lacked in production they made up for in tourists, with last weekend’s Maine Maple Sunday drawing massive crowds, with visitors filling long lines just to watch sugarmakers boil.
“We’ve sold out of everything,” said Nick Storer of Limerick, who with wife, Abbie and father Mike was busy Sunday entertaining a long line of tourists waiting to buy syrup and watch the Storers boil water since they were out of sap. [ MORE ]
JOHNSTOWN, N.Y.—Could be a disaster in the making.
Despite a big sap run over the weekend and into Monday, most sugarmakers in the heart of the central Maple Belt are way behind and fretting there may not be enough time to catch up.
“It’s been a late late season,” said sugarmaker Stephen Savage of Peaceful Valley Maple Farms in Johnstown, N.Y.
As of Saturday, Savage had only made about 1,400 gallons off his 25,000 taps, a fraction of where he should be and an even smaller fraction of where he was a year ago at this time.
“By this time last year we were at 4970,” he said during a tour for The Maple News. [ MORE ]
TEMPLE, N.H.—It’s been slow going.
That’s the word from sugarmakers around New England who are just starting to fire up this week after a long winter with no thaws and not much sap.
‘It’s been wicked slow,” said Scott Kemp who makes syrup in Rindge, N.H. and has only made 15 gallons of syrup so far off his 800 taps.
At the tree tapping ceremony with New Hampshire Gov. Christopher Sununu at Connolly Bros. Dairy and Maple in Temple, N.H. on Friday, sugarmakers were all telling the same tale of woe.
Not much of a season so far and it’s already March 12.
“You better believe I’m worried, oh my goodness,” said Charlie Hunt who taps 3,000 in Hillsborough, N.H. “But we remain optimistic.”
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RAVENNA, Ohio—Sugarmakers across the U.S. were getting ready for the first significant run of the season this weekend.
“We’re tapped and ready,” said Eric Detweiler of Ravenna, Ohio in the Northeast corner of the state.
Detweiler said he usually taps around President’s Day but this year the holiday was frozen solid.
The thaw came this week, and his 40 taps on buckets are already starting to fill.
“We got 20 gallons yesterday and 20 today,” he told The Maple News on Friday. “We’ll start boiling tomorrow.”
Ohio is off to a late start, as are many of the southern states in the Maple Belt, where sugarmakers typically make most of their crop in January and February.
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