Governor Charlie Baker today declared March as “Massachusetts Maple Month,” continuing the Commonwealth’s support of maple producers and encouraging Massachusetts residents to purchase locally-produced maple products.
To kick off Maple Month, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux was joined by State Senator Eric Lesser and agricultural officials at Ferrindino Maple in Hampden for a ceremonial sugar maple tree tapping.
Governor Baker said his Administration “is proud to support the Commonwealth’s $6 million maple industry and we are committed to ensuring the industry continues to thrive as an economic, environmental and agricultural engine for the state. We look forward to continuing our work with local syrup producers to bring awareness throughout the season.”
Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton noted that “Maple producers throughout the Commonwealth continue to embrace environmental sustainability as part of their operations. The Baker-Polito Administration is proud to invest in programs such as the Farm Energy Grant program which promotes energy-efficient machinery and further assists with the sustainability, success, and viability of Massachusetts’ maple industry.”
Massachusetts is home to approximately 300 maple syrup producers, including many who are open to the public throughout the sugaring season. Last year more than 72,000 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.
MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux said that his office “is proud to provide grants for maple producers to not only increase production but to address the agricultural sector’s vulnerability to climate change. Recently initiated, the Agricultural Climate Resiliency & Efficiencies Program (ACRE) helps producers to fund practices that mitigate climate change and improve economic resiliency.”
Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism Executive Director Francois L. Nivaud said, “Maple sugaring is a time-honored tradition that gives residents and visitors a distinct opportunity to enjoy our agricultural riches while supporting local syrup producers. Maple Month helps shine a light on the producers and the outstanding products enjoyed by so many in Massachusetts and beyond.”
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 16-17, 2019, and will feature open house events at sugarhouses throughout central and western Massachusetts.
Go to the MassGrown website and click on maple for a complete listing of maple sugar houses.
For information about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.