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Sam Cutting IV: Vermont's maple industry leader speaks

FERRISBURGH-Vermont's maple syrup production marked a 76-year high point this year. An extra long season of tapping the sap of sugar maple trees helped create a record-breaking harvest, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Local maple producers are now awash with high quality syrup and the word from experts is that the year's product is among the best in memory.

Sam Cutting IV, owner and operator of Vermont's largest maple product operation, Dakin Farm based inFerrisburgh, has had a few weeks to assess both the pluses and the minuses of this year's maple bonanza.

Cutting's Dakin Farm operation is known nationwide for its mail-order and retail business that sells made-in-Vermont goodies, from bacon and pancake mix to frothy jugs of fresh maple syrup-and more.

We asked Cutting-who was busy overseeing new shipments of maple syrup from his Ferrisburgh plant to customers in all 50 states and beyond-about the good news announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service a few weeks ago.

Varricchio: You've been a leader in maple syrup production and retailing in Vermont, so how does this year's USDA report differ from previous years? Do you see the "good news" reflected in your sales and/or production in 2011?

Cutting:This year production was high and so was last year. This year was a cold maple season and it warmed up just enough for the sap to run. Due to the cold, there was a lot of light colored syrup made-Fancy grade and grade A Medium Amber. Last year was a warm maple season and there was more dark syrup made. Both years were near record production.

What this means is that we have a lot of syrup to sell. We buy syrup from the same farmers in Franklin County every year and they expect us to take their whole crop. Since they made so much syrup it really is more syrup than we need.

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