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Massachusetts and Vermont maple producers have record yearMassachusetts and Vermont maple producers have record year

With record production, sugarmakers in Vermont and Massachusetts had sweet 2016 seasons.

John Vogel

June 20, 2016

2 Min Read

Massachusetts and Vermont maple syrup producers had record production seasons for the second year in a row in 2016. That’s according to data released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Survey.

So did Quebec, Canada, the undisputed top producer in North America. It generated 7.99 million gallons of the syrupy sweet this winter. One reason is that rising demand for syrup and confectionary products is spurring nationwide demand and prices ranging from $48 to $52 a gallon.

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HOW SWEET IT IS: Consumer education and marketing are behind the rise in maple syrup products.

Vermont, the largest U.S. syrup producer, pulled 1.9 million gallons from its taps, up from 1.4 million gallons in 2015. Massachusetts’ production of 77,000 gallons exceeded by 2,000 gallons the amount produced in 2015, which itself had been a record.

A long season, starting early in the warm winter and punctuated by deep freezes in February and March that kept the sap running, was another reason for the increase in production. But Massachusetts sugarmakers added a total of 5,000 taps statewide in 2016, according to NASS. Many also have increased efficiency by installing modern equipment and adopting sustainable practices that help to boost yield.

“Sugarmakers are stepping up production to meet growing customer demand,” confirms Massachusetts Maple Producers Association Coordinator Winton Pitcoff. “People are using maple syrup for cooking, in baking, salad dressings, even in cocktails. Every purchase of Massachusetts maple syrup not only means a family is enjoying delicious food, but also helps keeps a farm in business.”

Behind that demand 
Demand for maple syrup has been steadily rising. Consumers are recognizing the value of the sweetener as an all-natural, fat-free, allergen-free product, with fewer calories and better health properties than corn syrup and cane sugar sweetners.

Most U.S. maple syrup is produced in the Northeast.  Canada. Massachusetts ranks eight among maple-producing states. There are more than 250 maple producers in Massachusetts, tapping more than 300,000 trees.

Many Massachusetts sugarmakers welcome visitors to their farms year-round to purchase maple syrup and other maple products, like candy and maple cream. A directory of these farms can be found at the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association’s massmaple.org site.
 

About the Author(s)

John Vogel

Editor, American Agriculturist

For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.

Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.

John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.

John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.

His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.

Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.

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