Think pancakes, think sweet and golden; think economic development.
New York state’s maple syrup production surged this year, rising nearly 60 percent after a slow crop in 2012.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says production was boosted from 360,000 to 574,000 gallons in the 2013 season.
Industry leaders say increasing demand for the product could make the maple syrup industry an economic opportunity for upstate regions.
“The world market is growing, it’s not just a local, or United States, or North America thing, the interest in maple is growing worldwide,” says executive director at the New York State Maple Producers Association, Helen Thomas.
More than 3 million gallons of maple syrup were produced in the U.S. this year, up 70 percent from 2012, USDA officials say.
And, Thomas says each year the value of maple syrup is increasing, along with the number of seasonal jobs available at harvest time.
“In western New York, in the Adirondacks and in the Catskills and those regions around the state where maple production is strong it is very definitely a benefit to the local economy,” she says.
Thomas says more producers are joining the ranks in New York state each year and there’s been a noticeable increase in international interest in this product that is unique to North America.
She says Russia, China, Japan and Guatemala have shown interest in importing New York maple syrup.
New York ranks number two in the nation for maple production, behind Vermont.
Thomas says the rebound in this year's crop is mainly attributable to more favorable weather.