February 28, 2017
Contact: Winton Pitcoff, 413-628-3912,

Governor Baker Declares March is Maple Month in Massachusetts
MDAR Commissioner to Tap First Tree of the Maple Season
Friday, March 3, 2016, 10:00 a.m.
Steve's Sugar Shack, Westhampton, MA

Massachusetts’ sweetest season has begun, with maple syrup producers boiling down sap to make pure maple products. Sugarmakers and local officials will gather on Friday, March 3 at 10:00 a.m. at Steve’s Sugar Shack in Westhampton (34 N Rd.) to mark the beginning of Maple Month. Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux will tap the ceremonial first tree of the season and read a proclamation from Governor Baker declaring March to be Maple Month in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts sugarmakers have had record production of maple syrup in the last few seasons, making 77,000 gallons in 2016. These gains are attributable to more producers setting more taps to collect sap, and to the use of more energy-efficient technologies that reduce costs and labor required for production.
Many of the state’s more than 300 producers have already begun making syrup this season. Sap runs when nights are cold and days are above freezing, so the few warm spells have been perfect for sugaring. Many sugarhouses are open to the public during the season, with maple syrup and other products available for sale. A directory is available online at
Owned by Steve Holt, Steve’s Sugar Shack not only makes pure maple products but also serves breakfast on weekends during the sugaring season. Holt has been tapping trees and making syrup since he was 12 years old, and is dedicated to keeping that tradition alive in Westhampton. Thanks to energy efficiency grants from MDAR and the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Holt will be installing a custom built evaporator this year, helping to ensure his continued sustainability as a sugarmaker.
Demand for local maple products has increased in recent years, as more consumers have discovered its versatility in baking and cooking, as well as its health benefits. Pure Massachusetts maple products are naturally gluten-, allergen- and fat-free, and have fewer calories and more minerals and nutrients than other sweeteners.
The season will also be marked by Maple Weekend, March 18-19, when sugarhouses around the state will be open to visitors who want to see syrup being made, learn about the process and history of maple production, and sample and purchase the Commonwealth’s sweetest crop. Many restaurants will feature menu items made with Massachusetts maple syrup that weekend as well. Lists of participating sugarhouses and restaurants are available at
Massachusetts sugarmakers lead the nation in direct-to-consumer sales, and state producers consistently win awards at the annual international maple contest for their excellent products.
The Massachusetts Maple Producers Association is a non-profit trade association dedicated to the preservation and promotion of maple sugaring in Massachusetts.
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