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Home » From the Commissioner

Gearing Up for Maple Season

New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food (March 2, 2014)

Deep snow made preparations for the 2014 maple season more arduous that usual in many areas. But many sugarmakers have managed to get in all their taps, ready for the break in the weather to get the sap flowing. A few producers had reportedly made syrup during the warm spell in January.

Governor Maggie Hassan will drill into her second official maple tree on March 11 at 11:00 am in Lyndeborough. Chris Pheil of The Maple Guys will host the annual NH Maple Producers Association (NHMPA) event at the sugarhouse on Cram Hill Road. The Maple Guys grew from a hobby operation into a family-owned business of over 1,000 taps and maple equipment business. They have invented and market equipment for maple producers, and received a grant from NRCS for a high-efficiency gasification evaporator. They received the Carlisle Award for maple syrup excellence in 2005 and 2007.

Jim Fadden of Fadden’s Sugarhouse in North Woodstock won the coveted Carlisle Award at the 2014 NH Maple Producers annual meeting in Lebanon in late January. The Fadden family has a long history of producing top quality maple syrup. This was the sixth time the Faddens have received the Carlisle Award–Jim, his father and grandfather have each received the award twice for their syrup. And Jim’s son, James III, represents fourth generation involved at Fadden’s Sugarhouse, involved in the day to day boiling operations and managing their country store. The Faddens have 7,500 taps connected with about 17 miles of tubing.

The Lawrence A. Carlisle Memorial Trophy is awarded annually by the NHMPA for excellence in the production of Maple Syrup. The Carlisle Trophy honors Mr. Carlisle’s many contributions to New Hampshire’s maple industry while serving as Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture and Agent in Marketing for the NH Department of Agriculture from 1921-1941. Establishing a standard system to grade syrup was one of his chief accomplishments. He recommended the department establish and promulgate voluntary grades of farm products, and the power of inspection. In 1931 NH adopted a standardized system of grading maple syrup, and agricultural inspectors visited farms and markets to determine the grades of syrup.

The NHMPA annual meeting also provided producers with information on the new maple syrup grading standards proposed for the entire North American maple industry. Attendees also had an opportunity to provide input on the department’s proposed new rules for maple syrup. The proposed new rules incorporate the proposed changes to grading standards.

The Division of Regulatory Services has held listening sessions in Lancaster, Lebanon and at Farm & Forest to discuss the new grading system and other proposed changes to the NH Maple Rules. Look for ‘Maple Rules’ under Hot Topics on the department’s webpage for information on the process and proposed changes. Those who would like to submit comments or request more information can email or call the Division of Regulatory Services at 271-3685. Please note the proposed rules will not go into effect until 2015. In the meantime, the current NH Maple Laws and Administrative Rules apply.

Check out the 20th Annual NH Maple Weekend, March 22-23. Visit one—or several–of more than 110 hosting sugarhouses open statewide. Visit for a list of participating sugarhouses.


The first 2012 Ag Census data shows a five percent increase in farm numbers for New Hampshire and New England–defying the national downward trend. Please see page 3 of Weekly Market Bulletin for a report from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Much more information will become available later this spring, and as NASS’s analysts crunch more of the numbers and study the trends.

 Lorraine Merrill, Commissioner  lorrainemerrill

Department of Agriculture, Markets, & Food

 (This column is excerpted from the Weekly Market Bulletin, Feb 26, 2014)


The NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food Division of Agricultural Development compiles market information and publishes the Weekly Market Bulletin for the agriculture community. The Bulletin is the department’s ‘publication of record’ and includes appropriate industry notices, announcements, seasonal information and market survey data. Subscribers may advertise in the popular agricultural classified advertising at no charge. One-year subscriptions are $28 for delivery by U.S. Postal Service, or $22 for delivery by secure internet. Sign up for the Weekly Market Bulletin by calling the office at 271-2505 and providing a credit card for payment; or visit the office at 25 Capitol St., Concord; or mail in your request with a check. Be sure to provide your address, phone number, and if you are requesting an online subscription, an email address.



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