The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup%E2%80%94and One Family's Quest for the Sweetest Harvest

Douglas Whynott. Da Capo, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-306-82204-9
This inside look at the ups and downs of the maple syrup industry over its year-long harvesting and production cycle will be fascinating to anyone interested in the modern food industry, the effect of global warming on agriculture, and just how that sweet syrup got from a stand of sugar maples to the breakfast table. Whynott (Following the Bloom) follows the work and life of Bruce Bascom, whose Bascom Farms produced 23,900 gallons of maple syrup in 2010, "more than a fourth of the maple crop for the state of New Hampshire." But the main part of the book is a look at how that syrup is produced, which requires Bascom to harvest almost 70,000 gallons of sap a day, boil and refine it into a range of flavors, and sell it to buyers nationwide. Whynott introduces the reader to "The Federation," an OPEC-style organization that was formed to monitor and police production and price activity in what is now a multimillion-dollar industry. The last quarter of the book is both enlightening and alarming, as Whynott details how the slowly rising temperatures are affecting the industry, as milder winters bring earlier maple sap flows and forcing business to tap their trees "about a month earlier than they used to." As one long-time maple harvester says, sugar maple trees "are just like humans, in that sap is like blood. They are very sensitive, and that's why they are in danger from climate change." (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/24/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-306-82205-6
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