It’s peak maple sugar season and despite Vermont’s unusual weather this year, producers say the maple came out just right.
From Maple lemonade to maple hotdogs, hundreds enjoyed the state’s finest at sugar houses across Vermont, including Palmer’s Sugarhouse in Shelburne.
“The entire community comes out and celebrates spring, it’s a rite of passage,” says David Palmer, owner of Palmer’s Sugarhouse.
This weekend marked the Annual Maple Open House.
Maple sugar usually adds more than $300 million to the state’s economy, according to the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association
Palmer says because of the up and down weather, it’s been a good year for maple sugar makers.
“It’s extended the season for us so we’re really excited and I know all the producers are.”
Last year Vermont produced 1.4 million gallons of maple syrup, more than 40 percent of the total U.S. production, according to the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association.
It’s enough to make Vermonters and out-of staters come back for more.
“We just came back for the syrup really, for this syrup!” says Caroline Robertson who just moved to Vermont from Seattle.
That syrup was tapped from one of the more than 830 trees at Poor Farm Sugar Works in Colchester.
“We are trying to get about 400 gallons of syrup,” says owner Donald Schroeder.
He says the farm started with 50 taps 18 years ago, now it taps 830 trees and adding to the state’s growth.
As of 2015, there are roughly 4.5 million taps in Vermont, twice as many as there were 10 years ago.
“The process itself is a lot of fun,” says Schroeder. “It’s very mechanical in some ways, but it’s also a lot of fun with little tricks that you have to put into play to make it work.”
According to the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association, the average maple sugar producer in Vermont has more than 3,400 taps and produces about 1,200 gallons of syrup.