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Maple Syrup Making Also Boomed as a Pandemic Hobby

  • April 08, 2021

“Since exactly a month ago, about 200 people have joined a waiting list to buy a product from our Sapling Line alone,” Ms. Whelley McCabe said. “This represents more units than we have ever made in one year.”

Peter Gregg, the founder of The Maple News and the maple sugaring classifieds, The Maple Trader, isn’t surprised that sugaring supplies have been selling out. He saw his print subscription increase over 14 percent, he said, and his website traffic increase by 50 percent this year — a quite uncommon phenomenon for a maple-themed newspaper.

“The biggest sugarers in Vermont started in their backyards,” Mr. Gregg said. “Sugaring is great because you can start out doing it in your kitchen but you get the bug and you keep growing and growing, adding more and more taps, buying more and more equipment, and trying to get bigger and more efficient.”

Mr. Gregg’s own sugaring exploits started that way in 1997, and he now has over 1,000 taps. “Making a pure natural product just feels good,” he said.

Maple sugaring can be complicated, but they are plenty of resources for hobbyists. The University of Vermont’s Extension Maple Program has lots of resources and information for the public, including a maple podcast. The University of New Hampshire has a hotline for maple sugaring questions.

The university also details tips for beginners including tree identification, tapping guidelines, sap collection, sap handling, sizing the evaporator or pan, and boiling sap. (Traditionally, one tap produces about one gallon of sap per day and then 40 gallons of sap reduces down to one gallon of syrup.)

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