By Senator Patty Ritchie
Watermelon, hot dogs, popsicles and cold drinks – these are just a few of the treats most people look forward to during the summer.
But, this year, a new favorite is topping my list, maple syrup ice cream.
Newsflash: it’s not just for pancakes anymore!
Recently, this sweet treat has been popping up in everything from maple coffee and maple soaps to maple dog biscuits and maple-flavored beer. And, there’s good reason.
Thanks to cold nights and mild days, this year, New York’s maple syrup farmers were able to produce 574,000 gallons of syrup, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that’s the largest amount produced in the state since 1947.
This year’s yield represents a significant increase from last year, when statewide, only 360,000 gallons were produced.
Not only is maple syrup a tasty treat, it’s a big part of our state’s economy, too, with great opportunities for further growth.
Today, New York is the second largest producer of maple syrup, after Vermont.
However, the two million taps across Upstate New York represent only about 2 percent of available trees.
As chair of the Senate Agriculture Industry, I have been working to support this growing industry.
As part of my efforts, I sponsored legislation to cut burdensome regulations that would help our state’s maple producers expand.
In addition to this legislation, I was also able to provide extra support for maple producers through $125,000 in funding included in the most recent State Budget.
This funding will help maple producers expand, promote their products and provide a boost to the industry as a whole.
While hotcakes and warm maple syrup might not be your cup of tea during the summer months, I encourage you to support this industry by sampling other sweet treats – including maple snow cones, maple ice cream, maple milkshakes, maple yogurt, and so much more!