LEBANBON, N.H.—Sugarmakers in New England are reporting mixed results on the pace of summer sales.
In light of sky high gas prices and record inflation, many sugarmakers have concerns over how shrinking discretionary income of consumers will eat into syrup sales.
Charlie Hunt, a sugarmaker from Hillsborough, N.H. told The Maple News sales at his syrup stand were brisk.
“We’re ahead of last year,” Hunt said during the annual summer meeting of the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association on Saturday at Patch Orchards in Lebanon, N.H.
Alisha Powell of Stuart & John’s Sugarhouse in Westmoreland, N.H. said sales at her farm were going well this summer too.
“We’ve had a lot of wedding orders,” she said.
But others have not had as good a summer.
“I sell at a farm stand and it’s been real slow,” said Dale Smith, a 1,200-tap sugarmaker from New Boston, N.H. “The vegetables are moving but not the syrup.”
Smith blamed the economy.
“People are being cautious,” he said. “Maple is a luxury item.”
Stewart Page of Loudon, N.H. echoed those comments.
“It’s just not moving off the shelves,” he said. “I think because inflation is so high in the stores people walk right past the syrup.”
David Kemp, a sugarmaker in Jaffrey, N.H. said sales have ebbed, but only slightly.
“It’s moving,” he said, “but not as fast as I’d like to see it.”
Over in Vermont, sugarmakers there are busy filling orders.
At Purinton Maple Farm in Huntington, Vt. a big multi-pallet order bound for New York was being filled on July 19, during a visit with The Maple News.
“Sales are as strong as ever,” said sugarmaker Peter Purinton.
Meanwhile, jug orders are starting to catch up.
A jug order placed last year for the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association is starting to be delivered to dealer outlets.
Michael Moore of Sunnyside Maples in Loudon, N.H. received a large order of jugs last week. Moore is an official jug dealer for the association and producers can go to the store for jug purchases.
Sugarmakers are being advised to consider price increases for syrup, in light of record high input costs.
Glenn Goodrich of Cabot, Vt., owner of 150,000-tap Goodrich Maple Farm, advised New Hampshire sugarmakers to consider a price increase in light of record high input costs. Goodrich was the guest speaker at the meeting on Saturday.
“This is a good time to raise your price if you need to,” he said.
Goodrich said he is selling gallon jugs for $49.99 and quarts for $19.99.
“We keep lots of pennies on hand to make change,” he said of the 99 cent price suffix.