MSPAC, in partnership with the CT Park and Forest Association and the CT Department of Environmental Protection, received a grant from USDA and CT Dept. of Agriculture to assess the potential to substantially increase the production/dollar value of CT maple products with a three pronged approach. (1) Increase the maple trees tapped. Connecticut currently taps less than 1% of the maple trees in the state that are old enough to be tapped. Not only is the goal to increase trees tapped but also to promote environmentally sustainable forest management by CT land owners through increased use of the lands for maple syrup production. (2) Enhance current equipment to achieve significantly increased productivity in current operations. New environmentally friendly technologies (vs. 10 years ago) have quadrupled syrup yield per tap and output per energy unit while significantly lowering operating costs with virtually no increase in carbon emissions. (3) Develop a marketing model that includes CT maple sales in high traffic retail outlets in addition to current specialty stores, farmers’ markets and farm stands.
The grant was awarded in 2010 and runs through 2013. Two pilot programs are underway. At the end of the grant results will be published.