Recent ice storms pose threat to Vermont's maple syrup output

5:38 PM, Dec 31, 2013   |    comments
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WESTFORD, Vermont (NECN) -- After last weekend's ice storm, maple syrup producers in Vermont are assessing damage to their operations. Several have reported significant damage to trees and the tubing that carries sap from the woods to the sugar house to be boiled into syrup, according to the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers' Association.

"We dodged a bullet," said Bob White, a sugar maker in Westford. "We were right on the edge of catastrophic."

White says the heavy ice caused some trees to bow or snap, damaging the tubing network underneath them. The good news, White said, is that some of that ice melted Sunday, alleviating stress on the trees.

Matt Gordon of the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association said the picture may be bleaker for other producers. Some sugarers, especially in towns like Richford and Enosburgh, near the Canadian border, have told him they are worrying about significant damage. Producers have been challenged even assessing the full extent of the damage, due to heavy snow and ice in the woods, Gordon said.

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