State Retains Its Standing as Nation's #2 Producer of Maple Syrup
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that maple syrup production in New York reached its highest level in 70 years, allowing the state to retain its standing as the second highest producer of fresh maple syrup in America. New York’s maple farmers persevered through a challenging winter to produce a modern record of more than 601,000 gallons of syrup from more than 2.3 million taps across the state during the 2015 season.
“Once again, New York’s maple syrup industry is thriving and breaking records in spite of tough conditions,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our state is an agricultural leader, with some of the most dedicated entrepreneurs and finest products around, and I encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to discover this fantastic Empire State product for themselves.”
According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the amount of maple syrup produced in New York was up 10.1 percent from 2014 and 4.7 percent from the previous modern production record in 2013. New York State comfortably retained its distinction as the nation’s second-ranking producer of maple syrup, with an increased lead over third-ranked Maine by nearly 50,000 gallons. Vermont, at 1.39 million gallons of syrup, is the nation’s top producing state.
The amount produced is the most since 1944, the last year before the beginning of a long drop-off in the number of tree taps and the yield of syrup per tap. New York’s resurgence began in 2008 as vacuum pumping systems began to replace the metal tree taps and hanging buckets that have signified maple syrup farming for centuries.
The New York State Maple Producers Association estimates that 60 percent of maple farms, including most of the larger farms of more than 500 taps, use vacuum systems to collect raw sap. The modern vacuum system is easier for producers to maintain, which has helped increase production per tap. The average tree tap produced a little more than one quart of syrup this year, though some large farms are seeing yields of a half-gallon or more.
New York’s strong showing came despite a brutal last half of winter, which saw long stretches of bitter cold and heavy snows. Sap only begins to flow inside of trees when temperatures rise above freezing. As a result of the harsh weather, USDA estimates that the average maple syrup collecting season in 2015 was just 26 days. By comparison, the season was 40 days long on average during the previous modern record year in 2013.
“Our maple producers deserve hearty congratulations for the way they persevered through a difficult winter to turn out a volume of syrup we haven’t seen in generations,” said Richard A. Ball, New York State Commissioner of Agriculture. “I attended events during Maple Weekend this year and can tell you from first-hand observation that the maple syrup industry is vital and growing. We are working hard to provide them the support they need to continue this growth.”
“The maple season started later and producers got a workout when they trudged through heavy snows to tap their trees,” said Helen Thomas, Executive Director of the New York State Maple Producers Association. “We are pleasantly surprised and very pleased to have had a short season turn into record production. We’re now approaching production levels from the beginning of the 20th century, and this is good news for producers and everyone who loves real maple syrup. Go and get some!”
New York State is helping to spread the word about the quality of New York maple products. Maple syrups and creams can be found at Taste NY stores along the Thruway and at the Taste NY Market at Todd Hill. Maple products are also featured at Taste NY sampling events across the state, and at the Maple Producers’ popular booth in the Horticulture Building at the Great New York State Fair, where maple popcorn, ice cream, and cotton candy are among the taste treats available.
More information about maple in New York State can be found at www.nysmaple.com.
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