- Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Declares March “Massachusetts Maple Month”
COLRAIN — Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux, Massachusetts Maple Association President Howard Boyden, EEA Undersecretary of Environment Daniel Sieger, and State Senator Joanne Comerford join the Lively Family at Sunrise Farm in Colraine. For high resolution and additional photos, click here.
Governor Charlie Baker today declared March as “Massachusetts Maple Month,” continuing the Commonwealth’s support of maple producers and encouraging Massachusetts residents to purchase locally-produced maple products. To kick off Maple Month, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux was joined by Undersecretary of Environment Daniel P. Sieger and state and local officials for a ceremonial sugar maple tree tapping at Sunrise Farm in Colrain.
“Massachusetts is home to approximately 300 maple syrup producers, including many that are open to the public throughout the sugaring season,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Commonwealth’s maple industry produces more than 70,000 gallons of maple products every year, and we encourage residents across the state to visit their local maple farmers and take part in this unique annual tradition.”
“It is so exciting to see how maple sugaring boosts the Commonwealth’s economy by employing over 1,000 workers and contributing more than $6 million annually to local communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Not only do Massachusetts maple producers benefit during the sugaring season, but other businesses, such as restaurants, bed and breakfasts, country inns, and other tourist attractions are able to share in this economic opportunity.”
Massachusetts is home to approximately 300 maple syrup producers, including many who are open to the public throughout the sugaring season. Last year more than 72,000 gallons of maple syrup was produced, and Massachusetts maple producers’ sales each year contribute more than $6 million to the Commonwealth’s economy. The maple industry employs over 1,000 workers and Massachusetts sugar makers steward more than 15,000 acres of woodland.
“Given that Massachusetts maple producers steward more than 15,000 acres of woodland, it is evident that environmental sustainability is an important part of their business model,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “In addition, many of the state’s maple businesses have been recipients of the Department of Agriculture’s Ag-Energy grants, and have used funding to help install environmentally friendly equipment that improves efficiency, reduces emissions, and helps the Commonwealth meet its ambitious climate goals.”
“We have been proud to award over $300,000 in Agricultural Energy grants over the past five years to maple producers across the state to help mitigate the impacts of climate change,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “By planning ahead and making changes in their production models, maple farmers are able to produce the Commonwealth’s first agricultural product of the year while also taking care to be good stewards of the environment and protect the ecosystems they work in.”
While March has earned the distinction of Maple Month, tapping in Massachusetts can start as early as late January and continue through April. For the best sugaring, nights must be below freezing and days must be above freezing. Everything from the weather, soil, and genetics of the tree can affect maple syrup flavor.
“Maple sugar plays a vital role in our agri-tourism industry, attracting visitors to the Commonwealth each year to savor this unique ‘Made in MA’ product,” said Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism Executive Director Keiko Matsudo Orrall. “March is a perfect month to visit a sugar shack in Massachusetts, and enjoy tastings, tappings and tours of this sweet, indigenous Bay State product.”
“The certain harbinger of Spring is the sweet scent of maple being made into syrup, cream and other products that make our sugaring houses so unique and the places to visit this March,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture.
"Not only do Massachusetts maple producers make the best darn maple syrup in all of New England (and don't take my word for it, check the results from past North American Maple Syrup Council competitions), they also steward thousands of acres of trees and are a boon to our local and regional economies,” said State Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton). “I am delighted to join the Baker-Polito Administration in recognizing the month of March as Maple Month, and I pledge to continue strong advocacy on behalf of our maple producers."
“I am ecstatic that we once again have an opportunity to express our gratitude to maple farmers across the Commonwealth,” said State Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), Chairman for the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture. “Year after year, maple producers in our Commonwealth positively contribute to our state’s economy through employment and sales, and I am grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration for their continued support of the maple industry.”
"It's great to have Massachusetts Maple Month kicking off in Franklin County this year,” said State Representative Paul Mark (D-Peru). “Supporting maple producers and local agriculture is such an important boost to our local economy and the sustainability of land and open space in our rural region. Thank you to the administration for choosing Sunrise Farm in Colrain to host this special event."
The Massachusetts Maple Producers Association (MMPA) will hold its 6th Annual Maple Weekend March 21-22, 2020, and will feature open house events at sugarhouses throughout central and western Massachusetts.