The Kettle Tender

A Canadian cartel, dessert bandits, and maple syrup kingpins.

January 18, 2017 Corrie Blodgett

Guest post by Christopher Sullivan Did you know that Quebec produces 70% of the global supply of maple syrup? Did you know that all that maple syrup is controlled by a cartel known as the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, backed by Canadian Law? Similar to how OPEC controls oil production and prices in the Middle East, the Federation sets mandatory quotas and requires farmers to sell syrup through designated agents or through the federation itself.  It is actually illegal for individual producers to sell syrup on the free market.  The logic is that the federation protects farmers from the...

International Maple Conference 2016

October 30, 2016 Corrie Blodgett

We just returned from the International Maple Conference (yes there is such a thing!) in Burlington, VT.  Now let's be honest, usually conferences are not that exciting. But one where you can see a robot milk a cow or eat maple candy cooled inside of a vacuum can't be that bad can it?  This is what I do. How do you do it? Actually the type of information sharing that happens at a conference like this can make a huge difference to a sugarmaker. It is far from typical to be able to go to a school or get trained to do...

Why Kettle Tender?

October 27, 2016 Corrie Blodgett

The Kettle Tender: Boiling Down the Name. The name for this blog comes from a series of 19th century oil paintings depicting “Sugaring Off” parties in Fryeburg, Maine. Painted by artist Eastman Johnson, these scenes portrayed a spirited community coming together to celebrate the first boil of the maple sugaring season. While “sugaring off” is a term rarely used anymore, the tradition of gathering around a pot of boiling maple sap continues today. We love how sugaring brings together our friends, neighbors, and family, to celebrate the season and the art of boiling down syrup. In Johnson’s paintings, the person in charge of the boiling...