Agriculture Secretary Opens Taps for Pennsylvania Maple Season

Feb 01, 2013, 11:16 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Agriculture Secretary George Greig today joined maple producers in Meadville, Crawford County, to kick off 2013 maple syrup production by tapping a sugar maple tree.

"Maple syrup is a delicious homegrown sweetener that can be used in sweet and savory dishes," said Greig. "More Pennsylvanians are looking for foods grown and made in Pennsylvania. Our maple syrup comes from trees grown right in our backyards, and it provides antioxidants and minerals that make it a great alternative to sugar."

Greig presented Northwest Pennsylvania Maple Association President Bill Phillips with a proclamation from Governor Tom Corbett declaring February Maple Month in Pennsylvania. Greig tapped a sugar maple and collected sap to be taken to a nearby sugar house for conversion to syrup.

Maple producers usually tap trees in late winter and early spring, when warmer daytime temperatures and cold nights stimulate the flow of sap in sugar, black and red maple trees. The sap is then boiled and reduced into maple syrup. Production typically requires 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.

While most production is concentrated in Pennsylvania's Northern Tier and Somerset County, producers tap trees statewide.

Pennsylvania ranks fifth in the nation in maple syrup production, making an estimated 96,000 gallons from 501,000 taps to trees in 2012. The maple industry received $5.1 million in cash receipts and generated an estimated $51 million in economic impact.

Media contact: Will Nichols, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture