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Maple syrup production in state hits 70-year high


Despite a harsh winter, New York State’s Maple Syrup production hit its highest yield since 1944. 

The state trails only Vermont when it comes to syrup production. Western New York Maple Producers Association President Greg Zimpfer, who runs Zimpfer's Maple Products in Attica, talked with WBFO about the industry's successful season.

“Although we had a very cold winter with a lot of snow, we had a very short syrup season but the weather was absolutely ideal for about five weeks straight and meant we made a lot of syrup every day,” Zimpfer said.

Governor Cuomo's office announced Tuesday that maple syrup production in the state hit a 70-year high.

"Our state is an agricultural leader, with some of the most dedicated entrepreneurs and finest products around," Cuomo said in a written statement. "I encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to discover this fantastic Empire State product for themselves."

In 2008, New York introduced vacuum systems to collect raw sap, replacing  operations that included hanging buckets and metal taps.  Zimpfer said the new system contributed to increased production.

“It does not hurt the tree it does not suck the sap out of the tree, what it does is creates effectively an artificial low pressure in the tap hole which allows the sap to flow easier out of the tree which allows us to collect more sap,” Zimpfer said.

Approximately 75 percent of producers now use vacuum systems to collect sap, while approximately 15 percent are still using old-fashioned buckets. 

Syrup season typically starts in mid-January before winding down by the beginning of April. Zimpfer explained why the taste of syrup differs between states.

“Maple syrup, because it’s a product that comes from a tree, different soils types have an effect, just like different soil types have an effect on wine,” Zimpfer said.  “So different areas have slightly different flavors as you change soil types.  Western New York has a very different soil type than Main or Vermont, so therefore our syrup has a slightly different flavor.”

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