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‘Cautiously optimistic’: Maple syrup producers expect a good season this year

Sunnyside Maples, based in Loudon, boiled their first batch of maple syrup on Valentine's Day — a whole week earlier than anticipated.
Sunnyside Maples
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Sunnyside Maples
Sunnyside Maples, based in Loudon, boiled their first batch of maple syrup on Valentine's Day — a whole week earlier than anticipated.

Maple syrup producers in New Hampshire are expecting a season that could potentially outperform production in recent years.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state produced 167,000 gallons of syrup in 2022 — a 31% uptick from the previous year.

But Andrew Chisholm, the president of the New Hampshire Maple Producers’ Association, said with production starting earlier due to an “unusually warm winter,” this season could beat out last year’s.

“I’m cautiously optimistic about a good season,” he said.

Mike Moore, who runs Sunnyside Maples out of Loudon, said he had his first batch of syrup to boil on Valentine’s Day, when he usually expects the season to start about a week later.

Moore said he’s already produced 25 to 30% of his crop.

“And some producers were able to jump on it a week quicker than we were, so some people made syrup before I was even ready,” Moore said.

Maple season typically starts in February and ends in April, but warmer temperatures allowed some producers to begin tapping trees in early January — a whole month earlier than what’s normally expected.

“It’s the earliest start in years,” said Chisholm, who’s collected maple syrup for more than 40 years. “We’re having spring-like temperatures during the day, and colder temperatures at night,” he said, which is ideal for maple production.

As our climate changes, winter is the fastest warming season in the region. According to New Hampshire’s state climatologist, it’s warming three times faster than summer.

Moore said he’s gearing up for Maple Weekend, an annual mid-March event in the state for which sugarhouses open their shops to visitors.

“We’ll be doing our normal thing, and…we don’t know if we’ll have sap, but we’ll be boiling something, whether it’s water or not,” he said.

Jeongyoon joins us from a stint at NPR in Washington, where she was a producer at Weekend Edition. She has also worked as an English teacher at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, helped produce podcasts for Hong Kong Stories, and worked as a news assistant at WAMC Northeast Public Radio. She's a graduate of Williams College, where she was editor in chief of the college newspaper.
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