An obvious and tasty accompaniment for pancakes (and anything else it touches on a breakfast plate), maple syrup is also a healthy sweetener for New York’s agricultural economy. Earning New York state producers an estimated $141 million annually, syrup and maple-related products are big business. Cornell Cooperative Extension Lewis County Executive Director Michele Ledoux talks about how the number two maple syrup producing state in the U.S. produces, processes and markets a wide array of delicious sweet and savory maple products.
"New York state is ranked second for maple production. It's a huge industry in New York state, and actually produces about $141 million annually. It's an economic driver for New York.
"This is the 24th year of New York State Maple Weekends. This year alone, it has 182 locations across the state, and it brings in about 400,000 agritourism visitors. It's an event for people to come as consumers and learn about maple, how it's produced, walk through a sugar bush, and see what's going on in a sugar house.
"We have some people exporting maple syrup, but biggest thing I've seen with maple over the last 10 years, is the value-added maple products. Maple syrup is not just for your pancakes. Anything you can think of maple, we have it in New York state: maple milk, maple candy, maple-coated coffee beans, maple spice mixes, the list goes on. There is no doubt about it, some maple producer somewhere makes it. This has really taken off, and people have said, ‘What else can I do and what else can I make?’"
Full episodes of the "Extension Out Loud," podcast on which Ledoux is featured, including descriptions and transcripts of each episode, can be found online. Episodes can also be streamed on iTunes and SoundCloud.