Sugarmaking turns into big business

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copyrigh the Chronicle April 6, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

Sugarmaking has turned into big business in Vermont.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Vermont sugarmakers made 1.3 million gallons of syrup in 2015, more than double the 500,000 gallons produced in 2008.

A lot of the growth is from new technology – vacuum pumps that keep the sap flowing at continuous levels instead of starting and stopping with the weather, and reverse osmosis, a process that removes up to 75 percent of the water in the sap before boiling even begins, said Mark Isselhardt, a maple specialist at the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center.

All of that efficiency means that sugarmakers can tap more trees.

But progress can come at a price.…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Vermont sugarmakers turn to birch syrup

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Darrell Bussino (left) and Bucky Shelton have started a new kind of sugaring venture.  They’re making birch syrup, which had a retail price last year of $78 a quart.  Photo by Jeremy Dean

Darrell Bussino (left) and Bucky Shelton have started a new kind of sugaring venture. They’re making birch syrup, which had a retail price last year of $78 a quart. Photo by Jeremy Dean

by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle April 30, 2014

GLOVER — A pair of Glover men may have found a new way to get money from trees — birch trees.

Longtime maple sugarmaker Bucky Shelton and a friend, Darrell Bussino, have teamed up and are making birch syrup. Its retail price is around $300 a gallon, and about the only significant source of it in the world, right now, is Alaska, which sells as much as it can make.

“It was an idea conceived by Darrell and I,” Mr. Shelton said on Monday. “He had an asset in some white birch, and I’d had this in the back of my mind.”

His daughter lives in Alaska, so he was aware of the birch syrup industry there, where he recently paid $20 for eight ounces at an Anchorage farmers market.

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