March in Maine brings longer days, rising temperatures and soon, a delightfully sweet aroma wafting across the countryside. Lines and taps are appearing in backyards and fields to collect what some call liquid gold. Sugarhouses and commercial operators across the state are gearing up for maple syrup season and its signature event, Maine Maple Sunday™. Mark those calendars for March 23rd!
Maple syrup is produced exclusively by the concentration of sap from the maple tree. Once sap is collected, it goes to the sugarhouse where it is boiled down, processed and bottled within hours.
In 2013, Maine was the nation’s third largest producer of maple syrup with 450,000 gallons according the US Department of Agriculture. Second was New York with 574,000 gallons and the undisputed king of the maples is Vermont with 1.3 million gallons.
“Maple syrup processing is one of the fastest-growing agriculture commodities in the state,” remarked Lyle Merrifield, president of the Maine Maple Producers Association. Lyle noted that while the cold temperatures are delaying first taps, historically speaking we’re not that far off from start dates.
Economic Impact - $49 million and counting
The maple syrup industry‘s contribution to Maine’s economy is $49 million dollars, according to a new study released March 5th by the University of Maine in partnership with the MMPA and Department of Agriculture. It includes the financial impact the maple syrup industry has in the state, including tourism, the number of jobs created and sale of equipment used in processing sap. “This study shows a more complete picture of the industry,” said Kathy.
Savvy consumers are demanding this pure, sugary delight that contains no added sugar, coloring agents...