February to April — Span of New England's sugaring season
Maple Weekend — On March 21 and 22, Massachusetts sugarhouses will give syrup-making demonstrations and offer samples. Find details at massmaple.org.
2015 Forecast: Looking Good — Sugar maple trees use carbohydrates to produce both sugar and seeds. According to Tufts University researchers, when trees produce a lot of seeds, known as a mast season, it can decrease their stores for creating sweet sap the following season. The 2014 season yielded few seeds, which means this year should be very sweet.
2014 Syrup Yield — New England (all states except Rhode Island) used nearly 7 million taps to produce 2.05 million gallons of maple syrup, which is about 65 percent of the nation's syrup yield. Vermont alone used 4.27 million taps to produce 1.32 million gallons of maple syrup.
40% — Approximate amount of the country's maple syrup that comes from Vermont, the leading producer in the United States
Making the Grade — The United States recently adopted the syrup grading standard used in the international market. In this new system, there is no Grade B syrup (darker color, stronger flavor, often meant for reprocessing), and Grade A has been broken down into four categories.
1 — Golden with a delicate taste
2 — Amber with a rich taste
3 — Dark with a robust taste
4 — Very dark with a strong taste
10-12 inches — Minimum diameter of a tree's trunk, measured 4.5 feet off the ground, before tapping should be attempted
40 gallons — Amount of sap it takes to make 1 gallon of maple syrup
Sources: Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association; Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing; USDA; Tufts University; Cornell Sugar Maple Research & Extension Program