The 2021 sugaring season has been in the books for almost a month now. After talking with sugar makers throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Quebec there were three consistent themes.
First, the sugar content of the sap was phenomenally low. The common belief is that the drought last summer severely limited a maple tree's ability to grow and store sugar in the root system for the following spring. In a typical year it takes 35-40 gallons of sap to produce a gallon of syrup. This year it took 70-80 gallons of sap per gallon of syrup!
Second, dark syrup lovers rejoice! For reasons unbeknownst to us, the majority of syrup produced at OFM and throughout the region was darker than typical. Perhaps another effect of the drought.
Third, it was a short season and a short crop. We started boiling a little later than usual, and ended about three weeks before of our average finish. We were not alone. Final numbers are not in, but anecdotally, syrup production was down 40-50% on average.
There is a fourth theme emerging - price increases. COVID changed the maple markets. With people being home and cooking more, U.S. syrup sales in 2020 were strong. That strong demand coupled with the limited supply means that market prices have been pushing higher. While the costs of our inputs have continued to climb, OFM has held steady on syrup prices for almost 15 years. We hope you understand that the time has come for a bump. Prices remain the same as of this newsletter, but expect an increase of 5-10% soon. So, replenish your inventory now before prices go up!