GREENWICH, N.Y. — A lot goes on here at the Morning Ag Clips, and every morning, when you get your clips, you are only seeing a scratch on the surface of all that we do here.
One of the items that we own is that we work quite closely with the maple industry. A very specific sector of agriculture, the sugarmakers are in the full swing of harvest right now in the northern maple belt states of the United States.
My role within the maple industry involves advertising for the Maple News, the industry’s monthly publication that is the “it” publication to producers of all sizes who work in the industry.
As a result of this involvement I have visited many sugarhouses all over the country, learning and consuming all of the sweet products made from the Sugar Maple’s sap. In addition, the Maple News has its own sugar house, where I have been involved in syrup production through the years, acquiring various skills such as tapping, collecting, boiling and even wood stacking.
One of the things that we ask ourselves when we have on our Maple News hat is “are we reaching the maple audience appropriately?” It’s a question that we ask over and over and serves as the barometer for the articles and information that we put out.
The maple industry, like most agriculture, has had the perception to be a male dominated industry–or at least that is the way it appears. But we know about appearances…don’t we?
So I decided to figure it out. I decided to search for my “Sugar-Women”. I knew that they were out there.
The answer is yes, yes there are, many women in fact, involved in sugaring.
Once the sap started flowing, my weekends were spent traveling from sugarhouse to sugarhouse. Taking pictures, getting content for the paper, listening, hearing, smelling, and yes, searching…searching for my “Sugar-Women”.
And I found you, many of you. Doing the same things that I had done in the past at the Maple News Sugar House. Too busy and too shy to get your picture taken in front of your boiler, you were getting the little things tended to that add up to very big things once you take a good hard look…
You are the friendly smile that is welcoming folks into your sugarhouse, providing them with their first taste of warm, sweet syrup.
You are the teacher, educating guests about the process of collecting sap, boiling it into syrup, and grading it.
You are the lunch bringer, fire stoker, temperature taker, de-foamer applier and floor sweeper all in one full swoop.
You are the warm feeling that people have in your small gift shops, decorated meticulously, helping to lure visitors to buy more of your syrup and candy.
You are the masters of making candy. Spending free time pouring sugar into molds, and packaging it up. You even whip up maple cream, and apply it to freshly made donuts.
I have seen you act as the go-between among family and friends, who work in the maple business together. You smooth things over, reason, calm, and even at times, ruffle some feathers that need to be ruffled. Shall we call it “firmly reminding?”
But the biggest thing that I have learned over the years, as I have traveled to many of your sugarhouses is that this industry, the Maple Industry, is just as much your industry, as it is a man’s industry.
Just like all of agriculture, it takes both men and women to get it done.
Your dedication to the partnership, creativity, and commitment to working, is integral to the viability of your maple businesses and farms.
Many of you may not have been the partner who initially embraced the idea of “making sugar”, or were part of the original family whose farm you now work, but most of you certainly do support it, and play a major role in getting your crop made and harvested every year.
So here’s to you my girls, my friends, my “Sugar-Women”…celebrate your involvement in this great industry we call agriculture, “sugar making”. You are important, and greatly appreciated, always.