Sweet Success: Vt. Maple Industry Celebrates Record 2022 Crop

The USDA says producers in Vermont tallied more than 2.5 million gallons of syrup this year

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Maple syrup producers in Vermont are celebrating what state officials have described as a record year in the iconic industry — one that is particularly satisfying following frustrations from a tough season in 2021.

The USDA said Vermont producers all together tallied 2.55 million gallons of syrup this year. That figure is up by 800,000 gallons from last year, when weather wasn’t conducive to good sap runs. 

The total is a record for Vermont, the state’s governor said in a written statement.

"As I always tell my fellow governors, Vermont has, hands-down, the best maple syrup in the world," Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, wrote. "This year’s record level of maple production is good news for our sugar makers and our economy, and I appreciate all the hard work that goes into producing the best maple syrup and so many great Vermont maple products every year."

Vermont’s 2022 crop once again led the nation in the maple category, the state’s agriculture secretary boasted.

"We’ve seen tremendous growth in the number of taps," Anson Tebbetts said in an interview Monday with NECN.

Tebbetts was referring to the 6.65 million maple taps Vermont producers had in 2022, a number which was 150,000 higher than the 2021 total. He said many producers are looking to further expand their number of taps in future years.

Tebbetts noted that conditions this year, with cold nights and a more gradual warmup, were ideal for a long season. The average season in the state was 40 days, compared to 28 days last year, agriculture officials said.

The challenge now is marketing maple, Tebbetts told NECN.

“It has to go outside the Vermont border,” the agriculture secretary emphasized. “We have to move it to other states around New England and places like Texas or someplace like that, that may not be familiar with the natural sugar of Vermont maple.”

As NECN reported last year, the industry has seen growth in people picking the all-natural ingredient for use in more and more savory recipes and cocktails, as a replacement for other sugars.

At Kestrel Coffee Roasters’ three locations in Burlington and South Burlington, maple is the most popular add-in to iced and hot coffees and specialty drinks like lattes, said co-owner Charlotte Steverson.

"We can add maple to anything, and usually it’s the first thing people ask for," Steverson said. "It’s not overly sweet for most people — it’s usually just the right amount of sweetness."

At the Isham Family Farm in Williston, Mike Isham said his output of about 400 gallons this year roughly doubled last year’s disappointing total.

"The quantity was great," Isham beamed. "It was a good strong year."

Isham said he sees the record season as validation of the hard work and constant reinvestments by maple producers — who have made the industry an iconic Vermont tradition.

"(When) I work in the woods, I can feel my grandparents who were working in the woods before me," Isham said, noting that maple syrup has been produced on his farm since the 1870s — through five generations now.

Heather Pelham, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, said syrup sweetens Vermont’s overall reputation, too. She said it often serves as an early way travelers are exposed to the state and get curious about what else the Green Mountains have to offer — from food to outdoor activities.

More information on planning a trip to Vermont is available here.

According to a news release from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, the state has led the U.S. in the number of maple taps for more than 100 years, and there were only two years on record — 1918 and 1926 — that another state produced more maple syrup.

The other top-producing states this year were New York with 845,000 gallons, followed by Maine with 672,000 gallons, the USDA said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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