An examination of why and how maple sugarmakers can make their operations carbon-neutral.
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Over two-thirds of consumers say that living a more sustainable lifestyle is important to them. Eco-friendly and Fair Trade claims are attractive to consumers, but the marketplace is still trying to clarify what lies behind these claims and if shoppers really follow through with their interests in the form of purchases. Consumer sentiment research looked at retail sales from 2017-2020 and showed that consumer spending on products with environmental, social and governance (ESG) claims grew at a faster rate than products without such claims (Am et al., 2023).
In 2020, the New York State Maple Producers’ Association, in cooperation with the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, applied for and was awarded a USDA Acer Access and Development Program grant to conduct market research on the US consumer maple target audience. The project was designed to expand research, education, and extension efforts involving market sizing, audience research, and message testing, development, and planning to: 1) identify market opportunities, 2) optimize messaging, and 3) develop a market promotion and evaluation plan. The purpose of this work is to develop marketing tools and methods to increase the awareness of, and a rationale for, choosing pure maple syrup among audiences representing the greatest market opportunity. The program will achieve this goal through the development of research-driven messaging, market promotion strategies, and communications planning.
Since 1958 the North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual has served as a basic reference source for the production of pure maple products. This 2022 edition provides up-to-date, science-based information and recommendations relating to all aspects of the industry. The guidelines presented will help users ranging from the hobby and beginning producer level to those well-established in the industry. In addition, the information herein will benefit foresters, land managers, Extension and outreach personnel, and others aiming to provide assistance to those in the maple industry. Numerous photographs, tables, a glossary and hyperlinks to selected source materials are included.
This publication is also available in print, at www.mapleresearch.org/ordermanual.
Do you sell your maple products or give tours at your sugarhouse? Is your sugarbush open for hiking? Thinking about it, but not sure? Join us for a discussion about marketing, safety, liability, and other considerations. We’ll share information (and let you know how to get free signs) for Maple 100, Open Farm Week, and the new agritourism limited liability statute – and we’ll make time for a round robin about what would be most helpful for your sugaring operation.
250 maple containers of pure maple syrup were purchased online in 2020 and tested for density, color grade and flavor. Learn how many samples met the grading standards, how different testing instruments compare, the most common grading problems and some best practices to ensure high quality syrup reaches your customers.
Use photography and social media to connect with consumers and market your business. Learn some basics of photography with your smart phone and how to use your photos to engage with an online audience including: best practices for posting compelling pictures and stories on social media, what to avoid, and how to use what you have to take good quality pictures and effectively engage potential customers. With Chadwick Estey (City Market/Onion River Co-op), Jenna Baird (Baird Farm), and Abby Roleau (Gateway Farm).
Advertising your business online can often seem overwhelming if you don’t know where to start and what you’re trying to accomplish. Zac Smith, UVM Extension, and Mike Lannen, Eternity Marketing, show you how to set tangible goals, start small, and expand your online advertising with a variety of tools.
Maple farmers experienced a difficult transition when the COVID-19 outbreak in North America resulted in the shutting down of sugarhouses to the public, particularly during some of the most crucial weekends for in-person maple sales. Sugarmakers had to quickly pivot in order to make up for lost sales in the sugarhouse as well as from wholesale restaurant and school accounts. This shift brought about some creative thinking and innovative solutions to reach customers and promote maple products. Some successful marketing, sales and agritourism strategies have not only helped producers recover lost sales, but have permanently enhanced their future sales approach and marketing plans.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many maple producers were forced to cancel open house events during the 2020 sugaring season for the safety of the producers and their customers. This caused a major loss in sales for many maple producers throughout the maple producing region. While COVID-19 is likely to still be a concern for the 2021 sugaring season, we now have a better understanding of the virus and protective measures to keep everyone safe while staying open for business. Those measures and best practices are detailed in this guidance.