Predicting the future of milk and maple


copyright the Chronicle September 27, 2017


by Elizabeth Trail


CRAFTSBURY — The future is not looking good for Vermont sugarmakers 50 years down the road. But opportunities will open up for dairy farmers — if they can stay in business until then.

That was the takeaway from a gathering last week at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center that took a hard look at what climate change is going to mean for the milk and maple industries in northern Vermont.

Travis Reynolds teaches environmental policy at Colby College in Maine. His parents, John and Carol Reynolds, raise organic beef and tap 7,000 maple trees in Stannard.

He called his talk on the future of sugaring “Looking ahead and learning from the past.”

“The forecast is not an optimistic one,” he said. “It’s entirely possible that my son will see the end of maple syrup production in Vermont.”

First, the climate change piece.

Compared to 50 years ago, Mr. Reynolds said, the sugaring season is already three days shorter than it was. Sugaring now begins about seven days earlier and ends ten days earlier. If that trend continues, there will be years by 2067 when there is no regular sugaring season.

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Is there too much syrup?


copyright the Chronicle May 18, 2016

by Tena Starr

It’s been a banner year for maple syrup – by many accounts the best in the history of the business.

For many sugarmakers that means it’s also a profitable year.  Although the price of bulk syrup is down somewhat, nearly everyone has more syrup to sell than they did last year.

But others, particularly those who are new to the industry, may be struggling to find a buyer for their bulk syrup.  What some have called a glut of syrup also raises the question of whether maple production is outpacing its market, even though that market is growing.

“A lot of syrup has been produced this year, and a lot of the big packers have got what they need,” said Denise Marshall at D&D Sugarwoods Farm in Glover last week.  “Therefore, lots of sugarmakers don’t have a place to sell their syrup this year because there’s so much of it.”

Ms. Marshall buys a couple hundred drums of syrup each year for use at her own business.  She buys more from local customers to resell to Butternut Mountain Farm in Morrisville, a much bigger packer than she is, and a couple others.

She said she finds herself in a tough spot because she’s had the same customers for years and wants to be loyal to them.  But this season she’s been unable to buy all their syrup, because she has no market for it, at least right now, and she’s not quite sure…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Industrial sugaring comes to Brighton


Art by Brianne Nichols

Art by Brianne Nichols

copyright the Chronicle March 4, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

BRIGHTON — The days of making maple syrup to raise a little cash for property taxes have been gone for quite a while now. But an Island Pond sugaring operation getting ready for its first season could usher in a whole new era of industrial sugaring.

Sweet Tree, LLC, started and owned by a Connecticut-based investment firm, just finished tapping trees on 3,600 acres in Warren’s Gore and will be ready to fire up the steam-powered evaporators at the old Ethan Allen furniture plant in Brighton as soon as the weather breaks.

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