Great Sea­son for Ver­mont Syrup

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Montpelier, VT

De­spite an un­usu­ally warm win­ter in the North­east, Ver­mont sugar mak­ers are say­ing that 2016 has been a suc­cess­ful year for pro­duc­ing maple syrup. They have cited ideal weather con­di­tions once the taps started run­ning as a pri­mary rea­son for the suc­cess­ful spring.

Ver­mont sug­ar­houses pro­duce more than 1.3 mil­lion gal­lons of maple syrup an­nu­ally, top­ping more than $300 mil­lion in sales. That amount rep­re­sents more than 40 per­cent of all the maple syrup pro­duced each year in the United States.

Chuck Ross, Sec­re­tary of the Ver­mont Agency of Agri­cul­ture, Food, and Mar­kets, said, “There’s no greater Ver­mont brand than maple which places our small state on the world map – No. 1 pro­ducer in the U.S. for pro­duc­tion and the high­est qual­ity syrup. Ver­mon­ters take great pride in the her­itage of our maple in­dus­try, rep­re­sent­ing the best of Ver­mont cul­ture, com­mu­nity con­nec­tion and pre­serv­ing our work­ing land­scape.”

Matt Gor­don, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Ver­mont Sugar Mak­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion which has more than 1,000 mem­bers in the state, said that all signs are point­ing to a very pro­duc­tive 2016 sea­son for Ver­mont sugar mak­ers.

“While it’s all anec­do­tal at this point, every­body I’ve talked to has been re­ally en­thu­si­as­tic about this sea­son,” said Gor­don. “When peo­ple are en­thu­si­as­tic, it’s usu­ally a pretty good sign that it’s been a good year. An­other thing I’ve been hear­ing is that there is a short­age of bar­rels and drums to put the syrup in. That usu­ally means there’s been a pretty good drop.”

Burr Morse, owner of Morse Farm Maple Su­gar­works in Montpelier, said his farm has al­ready pro­duced more than 1,800 gal­lons of maple syrup this year us­ing 6,000 taps, and has more than dou­bled its out­put from a year ago. He said this sea­son has

en­tailed a full five-week run of su­gar­ing. In bad years, Morse says the su­gar­ing sea­son can be less than three weeks if the weather doesn’t co­op­er­ate.

“In north­ern Ver­mont we have been kind of an iso­lated suc­cess spot,” said Morse. “Su­gar­ing sea­son has every­thing to do with the weather tak­ing place while su­gar­ing sea­son is go­ing on. The win­ter be­fore this has noth­ing to do with how good su­gar­ing sea­son is go­ing to be.”

Morse said ideal weather con­di­tions for su­gar­ing hover around day­time tem­per­a­ture in the 40s and night­time tem­per­a­tures in the 20s. He also said that hav­ing more winds from the west and north help the maple flow since “the sap flow has to do with at­mo­spheric pres­sure, and the pres­sure in­side the trees has to be bet­ter than out­side.”

In south­ern Ver­mont, Arm­strong Farm in Ben­ning­ton en­joyed a two-month run of suc­cess­ful su­gar­ing, be­gin­ning in late Jan­uary.

“It was the sec­ond-best sea­son we ever had,” said Keith Arm­strong, owner of the farm. “We started pretty early, and had a good solid eight to nine weeks. We boiled 50 per­cent more than last year, and the sea­son ex­tended two weeks longer than usual. Other sug­ar­houses I’ve talked to in south­ern Ver­mont also said they did all right.”

To learn more about Ver­mont maple syrup pro­duc­tion, please visit http://ver­montmaple.org.

The 50th An­nual Ver­mont Maple Fes­ti­val will be held April 22-24 in down­town St. Al­bans. For more in­for­ma­tion, please visit http://vtmaple­fes­ti­val. org/.

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