WHITNEY POINT (WBNG) — Gary Coles has been producing maple syrup at his tree farm since 1995 and the growth since then has been enormous, but he’s not the only one.
A farm that started out with 500 tree taps, now has 2,400 just 23 years later, nearly five times what he started with.
"I’m at a size I can manage and produce quality, so that’s where I’m at," said Coles.
In the last five years, New York state’s maple syrup industry has increased by nearly 50 percent, we now produce nearly 20 percent of the entire nation’s maple syrup.
Production of the tasty topping is no easy task, however.
The process starts at the maple trees. Sap is drawn out of trees, into a tap and from there it’s led through plastic tubing into large metal tanks.
Next, it goes through a reverse osmosis process to take out water.
From there, the sap is boiled in an evaporator until it reaches 65% sugar or what’s considered pure maple syrup.
This all happens in the spring time, which is peak maple syrup season.
With such an in-depth process, technology has helped the industry grow.
"Basically years ago it used to be a bucket operation, we had to go pick it up in a bucket. Today I’m 100% plastic tubing and food grade tubing," Coles explained.
Ways of selling the syrup have also changed. Gary sells most of his syrup from his home, but said others have moved to selling over the internet.
But expansion isn’t all sweet in the maple syrup industry.
"Sometimes the bigger you get, sometimes, you’re making syrup, maybe a little inconsistent," said Coles.
It’s a classic battle of quantity versus quality.
"Everybody wants a piece of the pie," Coles said.