The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup, and One Family?s Quest for the Sweetest Harvest by Douglas Whynott

The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup, and One Family?s Quest for the Sweetest Harvest

byDouglas Whynott

Hardcover | March 4, 2014

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A year in the life of one New England family as they work to preserve an ancient, lucrative, and threatened agricultural art--the sweetest harvest, maple syrup...

How has one of America's oldest agricultural crafts evolved from a quaint enterprise with "sugar parties" and the delicacy "sugar on snow" to a modern industry?

At a sugarhouse owned by maple syrup entrepreneur Bruce Bascom, 80,000 gallons of sap are processed daily during winter's end. In The Sugar Season, Douglas Whynott follows Bascom through one tumultuous season, taking us deep into the sugarbush, where sunlight and sap are intimately related and the sound of the taps gives the woods a rhythm and a ring. Along the way, he reveals the inner workings of the multimillion-dollar maple sugar industry. Make no mistake, it's big business--complete with a Maple Hall of Fame, a black market, a major syrup heist monitored by Homeland Security, a Canadian organization called The Federation, and a Global Strategic Reserve that's comparable to OPEC (fitting, since a barrel of maple syrup is worth more than a barrel of oil).

Whynott brings us to sugarhouses, were we learn the myriad subtle flavors of syrup and how it's assigned a grade. He examines the unusual biology of the maple tree that makes syrup possible and explores the maples'--and the industry's--chances for survival, highlighting a hot-button issue: how global warming is threatening our food supply. Experts predict that, by the end of this century, maple syrup production in the United States may suffer a drastic decline.

As buckets and wooden spouts give way to vacuum pumps and tubing, we see that even the best technology can't overcome warm nights in the middle of a season--and that only determined men like Bascom can continue to make a sweet like off of rugged land.

About The Author

Douglas Whynott is the critically acclaimed author of four nonfiction books. He has written articles and essays for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Discover, Smithsonian, Outside, Islands, Reader's Digest, Yankee, and other publications. In True Stories, a history of literary journalism by Norman Sims published in 2008, Whynott i...
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Details & Specs

Title:The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup, and One Family?s Quest for the Sweetest HarvestFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 8.5 × 6 × 1 inPublished:March 4, 2014Publisher:Da Capo PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0306822040

ISBN - 13:9780306822049

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Keene Sentinel, 4/13/2014"Whynott's deft hand makes The Sugar Season an admiring book about a hard-working, imaginative, determined family building an ancient rite of spring into a thriving, honorable life with nature...[An] eye-opening, behind-the-scene book."Green Book Festival, 2014 Award Winner, General Nonfiction CategoryVermont Country SamplerApril 2014“To understand what could happen this year and the years to come—for better or worse—read The Sugar Season.”The Hippo, 3/13/14“[Whynott] keeps the book interesting with a family narrative.”VegNews, August 2014“An engaging and heartwarming read of the maple syrup business.”Washington Independent Review of Books, 7/23/14“A remarkable ode to the evolution of the maple sugar industry, from its humble beginnings to today's multibillion-dollar foothold in the world economy. It's a peek behind the curtain to the world of maple sugaring that exists beyond the rustic facadeWhynott provides a compelling overview into an industry entering the 21st century with head-spinning technological advances.”