Maple syrup in the media

There are always a lot of stories in the media this time of year as the pre-maple season excitement builds, but as the industry grows by leaps and bounds, it seems that this year there has been more media attention than usual. I wanted to give readers a run-down of the top stories I’ve been following this winter in the hopes that you will get maple fever to.

One story that has been unfolding over the last two years is referred to as the Great Maple Heist, the robbery of over 10000 barrels of syrup in 2011-2012 from the Federation of Quebec Maple Producers Strategic Reserve. The subject of an upcoming film by Sony Pictures, the Heist sent shock waves throughout the industry and generated a ton of articles giving sugarmakers and average Joes alike a glimpse into the innards of Canada’s signature industry. Here is an illustrated account of the Heist which appeared in Modern Farmer in mid-January;
And for you aspiring felons, here’s the blow by blow;
When it comes to big news like this, you can’t really compete with coverage from the Daily Show;

Another story which will have a big influence over the entire US maple industry is the Vermont’s adoption of a new grading system which has eliminated the grade B designation. When the old system was created, it was difficult to produce a dark syrup of high quality and so grade B was a lesser product. Nowadays, with many new technological developments in the mix, Grade B is just as good as Fancy but the name gives the impression of an inferiour quality. The new designations eliminate Fancy and B.
Not everyone thinks this new system is a great idea;

Technological developments are one of the driving forces behind the current maple boom. From reverse osmosis to tap hole sanitation technology, these developments are increasing yields and efficiency. One recent discovery that has stirred debate within the industry is extraction of maple sap from very young trees. While this could allow maple production on a much smaller footprint, reduce the amount of time to start tapping new trees and open the door for more planted maple farms, critics say this will move the industry toward monoculture and away from sustainable forestry practices.

There have been several interesting radio stories on the maple industry lately including a feature interview with Cornell’s Mike Farrell on North Country Public Radio;
He is the author of a recent book, The Sugarmaker’s Companion, which is being acclaimed as the most up-to-date and useful text for hobbiests and commercial producers alike;
I also did an interview with Cornell Maple Expert Steve Childs back in December and there is a lot of good information about the modern maple industry;

One final note; if you have never heard the song by Pete Seeger who passed away last week, you owe it to yourself to give it a listen.

This entry was posted in 2014, book, grading, Great Maple Heist, maple production, media, Mike Ferrel, Pete Seeger, radio, Steve Childs, technology. Bookmark the permalink.

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