Some friends of mine at the Monadnock Lodging Association were the ones who first suggested that I start a blog. I've got to admit, it is a lot of fun. This morning I drove out to Stuart and John's Sugar House in Westmoreland, to follow up on the maple syrup question. After speaking with John (yes, the John), I was able to get some answers.
As you can see by the steam, they are already boiling down sap. This year's syrup is on sale at the restaurant, which was packed. They began production last week, the earliest start in memory. So far, the sap has really been flowing and is of very high quality (he described it as "light" and "delicate tasting"). As the season progresses, the quality tends to deteriorate.
They have a large facility, and it looks clean and new. There are copper pipes on the ceiling that bring in the sap from outside. It collects in a vat, where it is fed down into the pot (in the picture below). That's Stuart off to the right.
According to the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association, the industry produces $5 million in revenue and 90,000 gallons of syrup (on average statewide). Both John and the NHMPA agreed that last year was "the best season on record". In 2011, Stuart and John's boiled down 120,000 gallons of sap into 3,000 gallons of syrup. This year, John has low expectations. He doesn't forsee the cold nights necessary for sustained production. He'll be happy with a mediocre season. You know what that means. Buy maple futures now to lock in low prices.