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.
Fisk said he will pay $2.60 for Golden with good flavor, $2.35 for Amber and Dark and $1.10 for commercial.
“People can just drive up to our Temple location and we will pay on the barrelhead or if they have trailer loads we will send a truck to pick it up,” Fisk said.
Meanwhile, Butternut Mountain Farms in Morrisville, Vt. said it was raising bulk buy prices 30 cents per pound across the board.
“Our price is going up. It’s pretty straightforward,” owner David Marvin told The Maple News on Thursday.
All table grades are getting the same increase, he said.
Marvin will be looking for more syrup this year.
“We’re happy to talk with people who want to work with us,” he said.
All of the rapid increases come as the 2021 season comes to a close in the U.S. this week with the crop down anywhere from 30 to 40 percent from last year’s record breaker, according to some estimates.
“We made roughly 65 percent of what I consider a full crop,” said Dean Parent, owner of 30,000-tap Three Percent Maple Farms in Belvidere, Vt. “Sugar content was very low this season.”
Marvin, at Butternut, also said the crop is at 65 percent in Northern Vermont, the biggest syrup producing region in the U.S.
“Not only has it been a short crop, but the syrup filtered hard and the sugar was low,” Marvin said.
In the Midwest, the crop is not as dire but it may not last through the year.
Retail sales are booming everywhere because of the pandemic, with almost no carryover from 2020.
“If we get to December or January with the sales staying at the same pace as they’ve been, then people might be fighting for syrup,” said Peter Roth, owner of Roth Sugar Bush in Cadott, Wisc. and a big Midwest buyer.
Roth said he is paying $2.10 per pound for the top three table grades.
“Yes, the hunt is on,” said Steve Anderson of Anderson’s Maple Syrup in Cumberland, Wisc. who has major retail accounts.
“I am not ready to share the pricing but it is up at least $.15 per pound over last year,” Anderson told The Maple News on Thursday.
The last time a crop was near as bad as this one is shaping up to be, back in 2012 and even worse in 2008, the industry lost market share at the grocery.
“It was really hard to get that shelf space back,” Marvin said of the notorious 2008 short year.
He said this year's situation might be different because the Strategic Reserve in Quebec is so flush, reportedly as much at 116 million pounds. It is not likely the industry will be unable to fill the shelves like 13 years ago, he said
“With what’s in the federation warehouses there’s enough supply to satisfy demand but we better have a good crop next year,” Marvin said.