Governor Charlie Baker today declared March as “Massachusetts Maple Month” recognizing the Commonwealth’s many maple producers while encouraging Massachusetts residents to purchase locally-produced maple products.
To kick off Maple Month, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux, Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism Executive Director Francois Nivaud, and local and agricultural officials at Mill Brook Sugar House in Lenox for a ceremonial sugar maple tree tapping.
Governor Baker said, “Maple Month is an opportunity to support our local maple syrup producers, and I always encourage everyone to purchase Massachusetts maple products from one of the Commonwealth’s 300 maple producers who have a tremendous impact on our economy and environment.”
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito called Maple Month “a reminder of the upcoming agricultural season in Massachusetts. Our administration is committed to ensuring the Massachusetts Maple industry continues to thrive as an economic and agricultural engine for the state.”
Last year more than 84,000 gallons of maple syrup was produced and Massachusetts maple producers’ sales each year contribute more than $6 million to the Commonwealth’s economy. The maple industry employs over 1,000 workers and Massachusetts sugar makers steward more than 15,000 acres of woodland.
Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton said, “The Commonwealth is home to a robust maple industry, and the Baker-Polito Administration is proud to continue to invest in Farm Energy Grant program which promotes energy-efficient machinery and further assists with the sustainability, success, and viability of Massachusetts’ maple industry.”
Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner Lebeaux said, “Through the state’s Farm Viability Enhancement Program, funds are used to advance production as well as explore business and marketing opportunities such as agritourism. Grant awards have gone towards technical assistance, business planning, and further funding to update and expand existing operations.”
Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism Executive Director Francois L. Nivaud said, “Sugaring season is a great time to venture out and explore Massachusetts. Between country inns and sugar shacks, Massachusetts shows its sweet side with tastings, tappings, and tours.”
While March has earned the distinction of Maple Month, tapping in Massachusetts can start as early as late January and continue through April. For the best sugaring, nights must be below freezing and days must be above freezing. Everything from the weather, soil, and genetics of the tree can affect maple syrup flavor.
The Massachusetts Maple Producers Association (MMPA) will hold its 5th Annual Maple Weekend March 17-18, 2018, and will feature open house events at sugarhouses throughout central and western Massachusetts.
Find more about tourism opportunities for celebrating Maple Month in Massachusetts.