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NYS Highlights Promotional Efforts to Grow Maple Industry
New York Ag Connection - 10/07/2016

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball Thursday participated in the Fall Maple Harvest and Tasting Tour in the North Country to support New York's maple producers and to highlight the state's promotional efforts to grow the industry. Following a record season for New York's maple producers, Lieutenant Governor Hochul and Commissioner Ball joined members of the New York State maple community and state and local leaders to spotlight the state's maple producers and encourage the use of their products. A special Maple Showcase and honorary Maple Trail were created to extend the promotion of the industry year-round, beyond the traditional maple season in the spring.

"As a pioneer and leader in the maple industry, New York State is proud of its heritage, its ever-growing economic impact and the men and women who carry on its traditions," said Hochul. "Today, we are committing to help producers continue to thrive in our State by highlighting the diverse uses of maple products year-round and encouraging tourists to visit sugarhouses and learn where they come from."

Ball said, "You can't go wrong when you go with New York State maple, and that's the message we want to share with the culinary industry and with our consumers. From the Maple Showcase that demonstrates the endless potential of cooking with maple to the honorary Maple Trail, which will also draw attention to New York's unique maple producers who make some of the best maple syrup in the world, we are excited to find new ways to promote this thriving industry."

The New York State Maple Producers Association, Lewis County Maple Producers Association and the American Maple Museum hosted the event, which kicked-off with a celebration of the region's local maple producers.

The centerpiece of the event was a Maple Showcase, a sampling of more than a dozen innovative dishes made from maple-infused recipes that highlighted the diversity of maple. The Showcase was designed to encourage the culinary industry and consumers to use maple products throughout the year. Some products offered included maple-flavored pulled pork, apple cider, tea, cheddar cheese, bread, and cupcakes.

The Lieutenant Governor also announced the State's support of an honorary Maple Trail to continue promotional efforts of the industry this winter. The trail will take travelers on a route stopping through the heart of the maple industry in the North Country, with opportunities to stop at small and large maple operations, as well as past the scenic Adirondack forest, an operational cider mill, pumpkin patches, and vineyards. The trail will include the current Maple Traditions Byway from Ogdensburg, NY to Lowville, NY, and will now extend along the edge of the Tug Hill Plateau to the City of Watertown.

In honor of the State and the region's long-time producers, the Lieutenant Governor also presented a certificate of recognition to Haskell and Jane Yancey, owners of Yancey's Sugarbush, located on Long Pond Road in Croghan, in celebration of their more than 170 years of maple production and their involvement in the maple industry. Yancey's Sugarbush is one of the oldest continuous maple operations in the Tughill Region.

The event concluded with a stop at Moser's Maple, located at 9609 Croghan Reservoir Road. Moser's Maple LLC was awarded World Maple Grand Champion in 2012 at the World Maple Syrup Festival. In 2014, Moser's Maple LLC was the Golden/Delicate Class winner at the World Maple Syrup Festival. Most recently Moser's Maple LLC was also awarded second place in the maple cream division at the Winter Royal Agricultural Fair, which takes place annually in Toronto, Canada. It is the largest Agricultural Fair in the world.

State Senator Joseph Griffo said, "The production of maple syrup is vital to the agribusiness that helps fuel New York State's economy, and the maple farmers of Lewis County and the North Country are an important reason why New York is the nation's second leading producer of maple syrup. With the rising success and dedication of our hard-working maple farmers, along with an ideal seasonal climate, I am hopeful that New York can soon become the new national leader in producing this quality product. As New York maintains its prominence in maple syrup production, the American Maple Museum in Croghan is a great place to educate the public and sample some of the finest maple syrup in the world."

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush said, "I want to thank Lt. Gov. Hochul for joining us to recognize the wonderful maple products being produced in New York's North Country. Our community produces some of the best maple products in the world, and by spotlighting the Maple Trail we can encourage more residents from across our state to pay these business owners a visit and try some of the delicious maple products for themselves."

Helen Thomas, NYS Maple Producers Association said, "Through imagination and creativity, New York's maple producers continue to redefine how consumers use and enjoy maple. Their innovative products have strengthened the industry and have become an important part of New York agriculture. We thank New York State, Governor Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Hochul, and Commissioner Ball for their partnership and support of our industry and our producers."

Jake Moser, co-owner of Moser's Maple LLC, said, "What a great opportunity this is to show the versatility of New York maple. From food to fall tours, it shows that maple isn't only the celebration of New York State's first agricultural crop of the season, but also that it can be used as an important and nutritional ingredient with the last agricultural crops of the season. At Moser's, 90 percent of our maple crop is sold in value added maple products versus syrup in liquid form. This is a direct result of efforts made by the local Cornell Co-operative Extension to make producers and consumers aware that maple is for more than just pancakes."

Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of the NYS Restaurant Association said, "The maple industry is an important economic engine for our state, and the restaurant industry and our customers are grateful for such a delicious resource so close to home. The restaurant industry proudly incorporates fresh, local ingredients that our customers crave and as we enjoy autumn in New York, we all look forward to the wonderful taste of maple syrup. With so many creative uses, it's not just for breakfast anymore!"

In June, Governor Cuomo announced that maple syrup production in New York in 2016 had increased by 18 percent, breaking last year's 70-year production record by more than 100,000 gallons and maintaining the state's standing as the second leading producer of fresh maple syrup in the nation. New York's maple farmers produced more than 700,000 gallons of maple syrup in 2016, a record that can be attributed to warmer-than-normal temperatures, which allowed for an extended season.

According to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York's maple production constituted about 16.8 percent of the national total, or about 1/6th of the nation's output. The number of maple taps also continues to climb, with more than 2.5 million taps in production in 2016, the highest number of taps since 1947.

Governor Cuomo's Taste NY program is proud to partner with many New York State maple producers and offer their products at Taste NY stores and cafes throughout the state. They are also featured at Taste NY sampling events annually, and at the popular Maple Producers booth in the Horticulture Building at the Great New York State Fair, where maple popcorn, ice cream, and cotton candy are among the treats available.

This year, the New York State Maple Association's Maple Center celebrated its most successful year at the New York State Fair with record-breaking sales. Sales at the Maple Center increased by 15 percent. They were driven by delicious and creative new products, including maple cheesecake.

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