What the Early Spring Means for Maple Syrup What the Early Spring Means for Maple Syrup

The process to make maple syrup is extensive - that's why it's so pricey.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — This year, winter has been milder in upstate New York. And while this has a negative impact on some business, for maple syrup sugar houses, it is positive.


Bottles of syrup sitting on a window.
Maple syrup production is underway.
© 2018 Natalie Fahmy

The process to make pure maple syrup is extensive, which is why it ends up being so pricey.

“We do call it liquid gold,” said Vice President of Dutch Hill Maple Nathan Williams.

Williams explained how maple syrup is made.

“We have to take a huge volume of sap and reduce it down to make one gallon of syrup,” said Williams.

That’s because their syrup needs to be 66% sugar, and 98% of the sap that comes out of the tree is water.

Helen Thomas, executive director of the New York State Maple Producers Association compares the price of syrup to oil.

“If you think of a barrel of oil being $50 , a barrel of syrup…$1,200,” said Thomas.

And although the trees are covered in snow, the sap inside of them has thawed, putting sugar-houses ahead of schedule.

At  Dutch Hill Maple they’re a fan of the winter ending early and are busy making 50 gallons of syrup an hour.

“Last year we didn’t make a drop of syrup until the 14 of March, and as you can see, we’re already making syrup this year,” said Williams.

Maple Syrup machine.
Maple Weekend gives people a chance to see how syrup is made.
© 2017 Natalie Fahmy

Thomas says the early spring creates a better experience for maple weekend in March where visitors get a chance to see how syrup is made – and they don’t have to worry about being hungry.

“They’ll have lots of good things to eat. That’s a given; everybody will have stuff to eat,” said Thomas

And Thomas says, the sweetest part isn’t the taste, “my favorite part is being in the sugar-house and smelling syrup cooking.”




Reported by
Natalie Fahmy

Natalie Fahmy

Natalie Fahmy is a student, graduating in 2021, at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications studying broadcast and digital journalism. Natalie is also involved in various multimedia stations on and around campus and has previous internship experiences.

Other stories by Natalie Fahmy

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