Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Tuesday announced that New York State retained its position as the second highest producer of maple syrup in the country in 2014, producing 546,000 gallons of maple syrup with 2.2 million taps, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Due to the hard work of the state's dedicated maple producers, this is the third best year for maple production in the past 20 years.
"This is another banner year for New York's maple producers, who have again proven that our state's agricultural industry ranks among the best in the nation for turning out high-quality products," Governor Cuomo said. "I offer my congratulations to our maple producers on this significant accomplishment, and encourage all New Yorkers to sample some of the world-class items that our local vendors have to offer."
The state's maple industry had many challenges this year after the long, cold months of February and March, which produced several periods of time where no production took place. This was a concern for producers using older technology of buckets and gravity tubing, because as sap production ceased during the winter, tapholes closed and sap stopped running. Producers using newer vacuum tubing were able to keep the tapholes healthy and functioning, thus enabling them to produce maple syrup over the entire season.
New York state maple products, including syrups and creams, can be found at Taste NY stores on the New York State Thruway and the Taste NY Market at Todd Hill located on the Taconic State Parkway. They are also prominently featured at Taste NY events throughout the state, which enable maple producers to gain exposure to their products and increase their sales. Many maple producers carry the Pride of NY label on their products, which can be located at various grocery stores and farmers' markets, promoting the fact that they are a New York agricultural product.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "I've long admired the hard work and dedication that goes into making New York maple syrup, the results of which are just outstanding. I attended a number of maple weekend events in early 2014, including one hosted by FFA students and another in the North Country. New York's maple industry takes a lot of pride in its work, as it should. This announcement is proof positive that our maple industry has the tools and commitment to meet any challenge head on."
Dwayne Hill, President of the New York State Maple Producers Association, said, "Every year, we are reminded that Mother Nature is in charge and the percentages of maple syrup colors produced is largely determined by environmental factors. This year, there was a low percentage of light amber syrup, with most of the crop comprising medium and dark colors. This is a good thing for consumers as the most popular flavors of maple are medium and dark amber."
New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton said, "New York maple producers have once again come through with an outstanding season. They should be commended for the innovation and hard work taking place in sugar bushes and sap houses across the state. Maple producers are a valuable part of New York agriculture, and I would encourage consumers to support the many delicious products that they make."
The New York State Maple Producers Association's maple center is located in the Horticulture Building at the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse, which takes place from August 21 through September 1. The wood surrounding the maple center comes from a maple tree that was once tapped for syrup. This year, the Association plans to feature a working tubing system with water (representing sap) flowing through clear sap lines into a releaser. The releaser will periodically fill and dump, creating noise and a splash. The Association is also designing a cutaway of a tree to show how the sap flows up and down in the maple tree as the temperature changes.
For more information about maple in New York state, visit www.nysmaple.com.