March 09, 2009
Middlebury, Vt – Today, Governor Douglas kicked off maple sugaring season in Vermont by tapping a maple tree at Middlebury College in his hometown of Middlebury. Hosted by Addison County Sugar Makers’ Association, the event included the mobile sugar house serving sugar on snow, cotton candy, maple cream, maple popsicles and other maple delights.
“I was pleased to see the sap running – an unofficial sign of spring. I'm always very happy to take part in this tradition," commented Governor Douglas. "Maple sugaring is a rich part of Vermont's heritage, and beyond tradition, the industry also generates millions of dollars for the state's economy.”
Vermont has over 2,500 maple producers that are currently collecting sap and making maple syrup, the State’s first agricultural product of the year. “There is an increased demand for quality Vermont maple products,” said Roger Allbee, Secretary of Agriculture. “We are hearing from the industry that there are new producers entering the market and that established producers are tapping more trees this year. That’s very encouraging for the maple industry in Vermont.”
This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation whose mission is to support Vermonters in their stewardship of our forests. “There are so many obvious reasons why sugar maple trees are valuable to Vermonters, and during tapping season, maple syrup is high on the list,” said Scott Pfister, chief of forest protection. “But sugar maples are also exceptional in their ability to endure tough conditions and bounce back to health – much like the people of Vermont.”
Bruce Martell, Agriculture Development Specialist with the Agency of Agriculture works closely with maple producers in the state and commented “Maple producers throughout Vermont are looking forward to a good year. Most have started tapping and many producers, especially in the southern parts of the state are seeing the sap run.
Tapping sugar maple trees has been a long tradition in Vermont dating back to the 1700’s. Warm days and cold nights are ideal for sap flow, and therefore, the typical sugaring season usually runs from late February through early April. The harvest season ends with the coming of spring’s warm nights and the first stages of bud development on the trees.
The maple sugar industry is an important contributor to our economy. Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S. with over 460,000 gallons produced in 2006. Maple syrup sales alone total almost $22 million. Many producers have told us that this year could be the best ever for the maple sugaring industry in Vermont.
This year the Maple Sugar Makers’ Association is again partnering with producers across the state for Operation Maple Sweetness. In its fifth year, thousands of gallons of maple syrup have been collected and distributed to our troop in Iraq and Afghanistan. For more information about how you can participate, visit www.vermontmaple.org
Source: Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Last Updated at: March 09, 2009 09:54:36