If you were a long-term maple sugarer, you might have expected the pandemic to boost your business. People at home under stress would be likely eat a lot of comfort food. And you would have been right about that–the average American has gained more pounds than usual over the pandemic. But as you were congratulating yourself for your foresight, you might have noticed that the supply of maple sugar was increasing because many staying at home during the pandemic decided that collecting maple sap outdoors was a safe, relaxing, and edifying way to bond during a pandemic.
Who can foresee all of the exogenous events, and the decisions of others, that will influence the success or failure of our dreams? The best we can do is to be broadly curious, to be always alert, and to make nimble adjustments. (A great relevant book is Adner’s The Wide Lens.)
(p. D4) Stress-baking and panic shopping. Vegetable regrowing and crafting. Now we can add another hobby to a year of quarantine trends: backyard maple sugaring.
Among the many indicators that it’s on the rise: a run on at-home evaporators and other syrup-making accouterments. A surge in traffic and subscriptions to maple-syrup-making websites and trade publications. And, of course, lots and lots of documentation on social media. (The Facebook group Backyard Maple Syrup Makers added some 5,000 members, almost doubling the number of people in its community, in the past year.)
Tapping maple trees and boiling the sap into syrup — known as sugaring — isn’t a new hobby. What’s unique about this year is the influx of suburban and urban backyard adventurers fueling these maple sugaring highs.
. . .
Because sugaring is a sticky business — and boiling sap indoors can mean resin all over the walls — many backyard amateurs turn to small-scale, hobby-size evaporators like the ones sold by Vermont Evaporator Company in Montpelier, Vt. The company said its number of customers had doubled in the past year.
. . .
Peter Gregg, the founder of The Maple News and the maple sugaring classifieds, The Maple Trader, isn’t surprised that sugaring supplies have been selling out. He saw his print subscription increase over 14 percent, he said, and his website traffic increase by 50 percent this year — a quite uncommon phenomenon for a maple-themed newspaper.
“The biggest sugarers in Vermont started in their backyards,” Mr. Gregg said. “Sugaring is great because you can start out doing it in your kitchen but you get the bug and you keep growing and growing, adding more and more taps, buying more and more equipment, and trying to get bigger and more efficient.”
For the full story, see:
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the article has the date April 7, 2021, and has the same title as the print version. Where the wording in the online version differs from the wording in the print version, the passages quoted above follow the print version.)
The Adner book that I mention above is:
Adner, Ron. The Wide Lens: A New Strategy for Innovation. New York: Portfolio, 2012.