The Official U.S. Maple Syrup Almanac -- 2017 Alamanc_2017 - Page 25

MASSACHUSETTS MAPLE PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION PO Box 6, Plainfield, MA 01070, (413) 628-3912, info@massmaple.org, www.massmaple.org SUMMARY OF SEASON A s was the case in much of the maple producing region, Massachusetts ex- perienced a stop-and-go sugaring season. Some who kept an eye on the weather fore- casts decided to tap early, and were reward- ed with a substantial amount of syrup in January. February provided a breather from production but not because it was too cold, but rather too warm for a while. Everyone then froze solid in March, but ended on a high note with a good final few weeks well into April. The season was punctuated by a rare tornado in the western part of the state, which cost one of our members approxi- mately a third of his trees. Sugarmakers reported very little niter in their pans, and very low sugar content in their sap. Very little golden/light syrup was OFFICERS / BOARD made. As has been the case for many years, the positive effects of vacuum were quite no- ticeable, with those relying on buckets and gravity struggling to make an average sized crop through the drawn-out season. More producers experimented with 3/16” tubing to create natural vacuum systems, and most reported favorable results. The season kickoff event featured our state’s commissioner of agriculture tapping the ceremonial first tree, and the reading of a proclamation from the governor declaring March to be Maple Month in Massachu- setts. At the same time, legislation was intro- duced to make maple syrup the official state sweetener, and to codify March as maple month in statute. Winton Pitcoff, coordinator Missy Leab President Hancock, Mass. missy@ioka valleyfarm.com Howard Boyden Board member Conway, Mass. hboyden@oescoinc.com EVENTS Annual meeting When: Jan.13, 2018 Where: Buckland, MA Info: info@massmaple.org Season Kickoff Event When: March 2, 2018 Where: Berkshire County Info: info@massmaple.org Maple Weekend When: March 17-18, 2018 Where: Statewide Info: info@massmaple.org MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux joined local and agricultural officials at Steve’s Sugar Shack in Westhampton, Mass. for a ceremonial sugar maple tree tapping on March 5. U.S. Maple Syrup Almanac 2017 25