Scott Waterman, Agency of Agriculture
What makes maple season special besides being out on the land, cold nights and warm days, a good boil and a lot of sweet maple syrup? Certainly, tradition plays a big role. For decades, Governors have highlighted the importance of maple to Vermont’s heritage and economy, with the annual tapping of the tree.
This year the event took place at the Green Mountain Technology and Career Center in Hardwick. Students from the school recently built a new sugarhouse on site and manage over 3200 taps in the forest nearby.
Governor Phil Scott arrived on a beautiful, snowy March morning, accompanied by many students from the school, to tap a maple just outside the new sugarhouse. With a swift motion of the power drill and skilled tapping with a mallet, Governor Scott hung a traditional sap bucket with plenty of time in the season for a great run of sap. Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts and Forest, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mike Snyder and Deputy Commissioner Sam Lincoln were on hand to highlight the importance of maple.
Once the ceremonial tapping was complete, the students and Governor toured the new sugarhouse. Of course, no sugarhouse tour would be complete without a taste of the maple syrup, and students from the Technology and Career Center Culinary program made donuts for the event, which made for a wonderful pairing with the sweet syrup!
While inside the sugarhouse, the Governor was given a tour of the evaporator in operation and shown many of the elements that turn sap into liquid gold.
Part of the purpose of the annual event is to highlight the value of the maple industry to Vermont’s heritage and economy. While sugaring operations can vary in size from a few trees to thousands of taps, it is hard to argue with the numbers that emphasize the industry’s impact:
- In 2004, Vermont ran 1 million taps - in 2018, that number is over 5 million taps.
- In 2017, Vermont produced 1.98 million gallons of maple syrup – second highest total on record.
- In 2017, Vermont led the country in maple production with nearly 50% of the U.S. crop.
- Approximately 4,000 Vermont jobs are created and supported by the Vermont maple industry.
“Vermont Maple is just one of the important agricultural products that give our state its unique character. Maple syrup has been boiled on our hills since before Vermont came to be, and we’ll work hard to ensure Vermont maple is recognized around the world for many years to come,” said Secretary Anson Tebbetts.
We hope you can join us the next time our Governor taps a maple at your Vermont sugarhouse.