Last year, Saegertown-area maple producers Kendra and Scott Durfee gathered up almost 650 gallons of sap from their 200 or so tree taps.
That sounds like a lot, but it takes 40 gallons or more of maple sap to produce just one gallon of maple syrup. So when it came down to it, they had enough to make about 16 gallons of the sweet stuff, joining the rest of the maple producers around Crawford County and throughout Pennsylvania who, because of less-than-favorable weather conditions, had precious little to show for their late-winter labors.
That year, 2010, “was a little disappointing,” Kendra said recently, but the business of maple-producing “just goes along with the processes of nature. We don’t know (from) year to year” what the results may end up being.
This year, though, things took a turn for the sweeter.
According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania’s 2011 maple syrup production is estimated at a total of 128,000 gallons — up 137 percent from the roughly 54,000 gallons produced statewide in 2010.
Durfee said her small-scale operation produced around 60 gallons of maple syrup this year, more than triple the amount of the prior year’s yield. “It’s definitely exciting” to see that increase, she said.
The number of taps across Pennsylvania also increased this year, according to the USDA, totaling 503,000 — 38,000 more than the state’s 465,000 taps the year before. Statewide, the annual per-tap yield was .254 gallons this year, up from the average of .116 gallons per tap last year.
Current statistics specific to Crawford County’s number of taps and average yields were not immediately available. The county had 34 farms producing maple syrup as of the USDA’s 2002 Census of Agriculture.
The USDA indicates 2011 was a strong year for maple syrup production around the rest of the country as well.
Nationwide, production stood at around 2.79 million gallons this year, up 43 percent from 2010.
Vermont continued to lead the U.S. in maple production, with its 1.14-million-gallon total surpassing 1 million gallons for the first time since the 1940s, according to USDA.
New York was second with 564,000 gallons, followed by Maine with 360,000 gallons.
Pennsylvania ranked fifth overall for maple production nationwide this year, according to USDA.
It seems “everyone had a super year,” said Durfee. “We’re very excited — and hoping for another one next year.”
Ryan Smith can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pennsylvania’s recent maple syrup statistics
.116 gallons per tap
.254 gallons per tap