For maple syrup, 2019 was a bit below average in New Hampshire

Monitor staff
Published: 6/16/2019 6:20:49 PM

Unseasonably cold weather this year hurt New Hampshire’s maple syrup industry, which produced about 148,000 gallons of syrup, the smallest amount of syrup in five years.

“The long cold spring definitely played a number on production,” said Nick Kosko, president of New Hampshire Maple Producers Association, who owns Meadow View Sugarhouse in Union. “My season was about 5 days shorter than the year before – and 5 days out of a 28-day boil is a lot.”

“Most people I talked to called it an average to below-average season,” Kosko said. “The last couple of years, New Hampshire has been lucky and we’ve had some sizeable crops … this year didn’t match that.”

Maple syrup production requires above-freezing days and below-freezing nights to make sap move up and down trees and be accessible to the taps. It takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to be boiled down to one gallon of syrup.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, New Hampshire was hurt by a small decline in the number of taps placed in trees this year – 540,000 of them, down from 570,000 two years ago – as well as a fall of about 6 percent in the average syrup production per tap. Both of  those figures were the lowest since 2014, which was a particularly bad season for New England maple syrup.

The USDA figures reflect Vermont’s continued dominance of maple syrup production in the U.S. The Green Mountain State produced almost as much as the other 12 syrup-producing states combined, and 2019 was the 93rd year in a row that it was the top syrup-producing state.

The data reflect another fact which might surprise people here: New Hampshire is not a major player in maple syrup, producing only about 3 percent of the nation’s supply.

In fact, in 2019 the Granite State not only produced less than our northern New England neighbors – Maine generated four times as much as we did – but produced less than Michigan, Wisconsin or even Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania generates far less syrup per tap than we do because it’s so far south but taps far more trees.

While sales data for 2019 is not yet available, direct sales of New Hampshire maple syrup totaled only $9.2 million in 2018, a tiny amount by most commercial standards. However, maple syrup has a huge effect on the state’s tourism industry, drawing tens of thousands of visitors each year.

The United States maple syrup industry is dwarfed by Quebec. That Canadian province produced 9.8 million gallons in 2018, which was 2 ½ times the total U.S. production, and that was a bad year for them. In 2017 Quebec produced 12.5 million gallons of syrup.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)The numbers

Maple syrup production in 2019 was less than any year since 2014 as both the number of taps and the number of gallons produced per tap went down.

YEAR: Gallons – no. taps – gallons per tap

2014: 112,000 – 490,000 – 0.23

2015: 154,000 – 560,000 – 0.28

2016: 169,000 – 545,000 – 0.31

2017: 160,000 – 570,000 – 0.28

2018: 163,000 – 560,000 – 0.29

2019: 148,000 – 540,000 – 0.27

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service



David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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