Is there too much syrup?

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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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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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Sugaring is off to a very early start

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Ted Young of West Glover has been sugaring for at least 43 years.  He has already boiled his first batch of syrup this year, the earliest he remembers doing so.  Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Ted Young of West Glover has been sugaring for at least 43 years. He has already boiled his first batch of syrup this year, the earliest he remembers doing so. Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle February 10, 2016

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Temperatures 15 to 20 degrees higher than normal have led to an unusually early start to the sugaring season this year. Sugarmakers who tapped early enough have already made syrup and say it’s the earliest they have ever boiled.

Ted and Rebecca Young of West Glover made 50 gallons of light syrup on Friday. Ted Young has been sugaring for at least 43 years.

“I’ve only ever boiled once in February,” he said. “In the old days, we wouldn’t have had the trees tapped anyways.”

It takes warm days and below freezing nights to get the sap running in maple trees, and that’s exactly what happened during the last week of January and in early February.

“We’re seeing more temperatures indicative of late March, early April,” said meteorologist Brooke Taber of the National Weather Service. “It’s been crazy.”

On average, temperatures have been… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Sugaring season was short

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Alfred Carrier and his son, Alfred Carrier Jr., take a moment from sugaring to pose for a family photo.  The younger Mr. Carrier says that he has only missed one day of sugaring in the seven years since the family began making maple syrup.   Photos by Elizabeth Trail

Alfred Carrier and his son, Alfred Carrier Jr., take a moment from sugaring to pose for a family photo. The younger Mr. Carrier says that he has only missed one day of sugaring in the seven years since the family began making maple syrup. Photos by Elizabeth Trail

copyright the Chronicle April 29, 2015

by Elizabeth Trail

Alfred Carrier and his son Alfred Carrier Jr., were among the last people in Orleans County still making maple syrup this past weekend. Many local sugarmakers report that they quit boiling early last week.

Local sugarmakers say the season was nothing to brag about. While some made close to a regular crop, others said they made about half as much as normal. Sugarmakers who do not use vacuum had a particularly skimpy crop.

Asked how her season was, Janet Osborne in Island Pond said, “Horrid.”

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Industrial sugaring comes to Brighton

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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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Vermont leads nation in sugarmaking again

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Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

copyright the Chronicle July 16, 2014 

by Natalie Hormilla

Vermont again led the nation in maple syrup production in 2014, according to a report by the United State Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Vermont’s total production for this year was 1,320,000 gallons, about 42 percent of the total U.S. production of 3,167,000.

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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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