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A dismal year for sugarmakers

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by Sylvia C. Dodge

Maple sugarmakers throughout the state made a smaller than average crop this year, with the reduction in yield ranging from 16 to 50 percent, according to the most recent bulletin from the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension Service.

Yields were down this year primarily because the sugar content of the maple sap was much lower than usual. At least 75 percent of producers reported to UVM having “below average” or “significantly below average” sugar content.

Lower sugar content in sap means it takes more gallons of sap to produce a gallon of maple syrup. It also means that less of the highest grade syrup (formerly known as “fancy” and now called “golden delicate”) can be made. If it takes more time to boil sap into syrup, the result is a darker product.

The reason for this less-than-stellar sugaring season?

“It’s hard to ascribe it to just one event,” but the overall trend seems…


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