Vermont maple season cut short, sap yields low sugar

Vermont News

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Seventy-degree Fahrenheit weather and low sugar content in tree sap have caused one of the shortest maple seasons in over a decade for producers in Vermont, the country’s top maple syrup producing state.

Allison Hope, executive director of the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association, said that most maple syrup producers made anywhere from 40% to 70% of an average crop of maple syrup this season.

The ideal weather is warm sunny days combined with cold evenings, the Burlington Free Press reported. Early warm weather put an end to the flowing sap, Hope said.

The average sugar content of the harvested maple sap was 2%, according to Hope, which increases the sap needed to produce maple syrup.

“You’re still doing all the work you’re just not getting the barrels you normally get,” Hope said. “People also said they made some golden and more dark syrup than usual this year. I’m a huge fan of dark so that’s OK with me, but it’s not following the normal pattern.”

Vermont usually produces nearly 2 million gallons of maple syrup, which is over half of domestic production. Vermont sugar producers offer four grades of syrup: a golden color with a delicate taste, an amber color with rich taste, a dark color with robust taste, and a very dark color with a strong taste.

“One off-year is no problem with meeting demand,” Hope said. “If this was in a string of less-than-average crop years, yeah, we’d probably start to have that conversation.”

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