MONCTON, April 25, 2012 /CNW/ - The ancient method of gathering sap from maple trees and boiling into a thick, sweet syrup has become more than just an artful tradition — it's an industry with huge potential.
And in New Brunswick, home to the world's biggest maple and organic maple producers, success on the global stage is ever increasing, and the taste is sweet indeed.
"Maple production is not just arts and crafts — this is an industry," says Yvon Poitras, general manager of the New Brunswick Maple Syrup Association which is working to help over 125 New Brunswick maple producers grow their business.
"In New Brunswick, we're proud of this traditional industry," he says.
The province's precious hardwood forests supply 1.8 million kilograms of maple syrup to markets around the world — including the US, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Germany.
And maple-related sales represent annual revenues of $12 to $15 million (the world's third largest after Quebec and Vermont) as well as over 2000 valuable local jobs.
The association not only supports and connects maple producers across their province, but helps market the industry and identify potential export opportunities, including during trade shows in food-minded France.
"We set up tasting opportunities during such shows, so that people can really experience the difference: no vanilla, no burnt flavor — it's all pure maple."
He also says, unlike in other jurisdictions where three or four kinds of maple trees are used, in New Brunswick, over 95% of producers use only sugar maple trees — which makes for a unique and high quality end product.
"We really feel maple syrup is Mother Nature's gift," smiles Yvon.
He also says ACOA's support for the local maple industry has been instrumental.
"There's no doubt in my mind that if ACOA had not come in, our maple producers and our industry would not be as organized."
As for the future, Yvon says the local industry has both challenges and opportunities ahead.
"We must compete with up and coming players, like the state of New York, where new supportive programs have been introduced for maple producers," he explains. "That's something that could challenge our third place standing in the coming years."
However, with only 30% of local producers now selling value-added maple products beyond bulk syrup, such as candies, creams and smaller specialty bottles, there remain opportunities to "tap into" new markets.
With that kind of creative thinking, this is one industry that promises to keep turning Mother Nature's sweet bounty into sweet success for years to come.
ACOA celebrates entrepreneurs
The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is celebrating the accomplishments of New Brunswick maple producers and the contributions they're making to Canada's economic success. From down home to the far corners of the globe - be sure to read more about other Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs like them whose drive and dedication are proving a fast match for success.
For 25 years, ACOA has worked with business and communities to make Atlantic Canada's economy more innovative, productive and competitive. Together, with Atlantic Canadians, we're building a stronger economy.
Did you know?
- Every day, Atlantic Canadian companies export nearly $90 million worth of goods around the world.
- As a result of ACOA's support, the productivity of Atlantic Canada's small and medium-sized business has grown by 6.4 per cent a year.
To read the video transcription, please visit the following link:
Video with caption: "Conversation with Michael Salmon, Kenneth Maple Farms". Video available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY7YlBsVh8M&feature=youtu.be
Image with caption: "Kenneth Maple Farms - New Brunswick, Canada. (CNW Group/Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120425_C8619_PHOTO_EN_12687.jpg
Image with caption: "A sample of New Brunswick maple products. (CNW Group/Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120425_C8619_PHOTO_EN_12686.jpg
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