The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup, and One Family's Quest for the Sweetest Harvest [NOOK Book]

Overview


How has one of America’s oldest agricultural crafts evolved into a multimillion dollar industry? Douglas Whynott brings us deep inside the world of maple syrup by following entrepreneur Bruce Bascom through one tumultuous season. He also reveals an industry complete with a black market, a syrup heist monitored by Homeland Security, and a global strategic reserve comparable to OPEC’s (a barrel of maple syrup is worth more than a barrel of oil)....
See more details below
The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup, and One Family's Quest for the Sweetest Harvest

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$13.99
BN.com price
(Save 44%)$24.99 List Price

Overview


How has one of America’s oldest agricultural crafts evolved into a multimillion dollar industry? Douglas Whynott brings us deep inside the world of maple syrup by following entrepreneur Bruce Bascom through one tumultuous season. He also reveals an industry complete with a black market, a syrup heist monitored by Homeland Security, and a global strategic reserve comparable to OPEC’s (a barrel of maple syrup is worth more than a barrel of oil).

Along the way, Whynott takes us from a sugarhouse where we learn syrup’s subtle flavors and grading system to a sugarbush where we discover the maple tree’s unique biology. As tin buckets and wooden spouts give way to vacuum pumps and tubing, Whynott explores the industry’s chances for survival, highlighting a larger issue: how global warming is threatening our food supply.

“In Doug Whynott’s graceful hands, this story about a maple syrup manufacturer and dealer becomes an intersection of subjects: of technology and business, American history and climate change, friendship and family. A wonderful and fascinating book.”—Tracy Kidder, author of Mountains Beyond Mountains
 
 
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
03/01/2014
Whynott (writing & literature, Emerson Coll.; A Unit of Water, a Unit of Time) follows Bascom Maple Farms president Bruce Bascom, his family, and his employees through the 2012 season at Bascom's Maple Farm in the New Hampshire mountains, which saw one of the earliest syrup tappings in history. As he explores Bascom's experiences with making maple syrup and sugar and his development as an equipment supplier, Whynott examines both the complicated past of the maple syrup industry and questions about its future. Though technology has moved the business forward, the need to preserve its natural beginnings (as global warming wreaks havoc) has become an important issue. In a world where one barrel of syrup is worth more than a barrel of oil, Whynott's descriptions of black market dealings and syrup heists highlight the value of this sweet crop. VERDICT Balancing the global history of the maple syrup trade with its local impact, The Sugar Season immerses readers in a reading experience both historical and personal in nature.—Kristi Chadwick, Emily Williston Memorial Lib., Easthampton, MA
Publishers Weekly
02/24/2014
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.)
From the Publisher

“The cycle of the maple season is one of the great signifiers of the mountain year in the northeast. It is lovingly delineated here, with a foreshadowing of the shifts ahead in a changing world. May it move us to action!”—Bill McKibben, author of Oil and Honey

“Whynott has delivered the most complete and compelling account to date of the modern maple industry. His cast of vividly drawn characters and his descriptions of the challenges they overcome will make you feel like you’re right there beside them in the North Country’s sugarbushes. It’s one sweet read.”—Barry Estabrook, author of Tomatoland

“Once again, Douglas Whynott demonstrates his uncanny ability to open up what seems to be ordinary and reveal it as something much more than we ever could have imagined. In this case, it’s the maple syrup industry, and Whynott take us from the metal bucket hanging on a tree into a world of currency bets, Global Strategic Reserves, climate change, and international trade. It’s quite a story, and quite a book.”—Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

Kirkus Reviews, 1/15/2014
“Thorough research provides fascinating insight into the sweet business of maple syrup.”

Library Journal, 3/1/2014

“Whynott examines both the complicated past of the maple syrup industry and questions about its future…In a world where one barrel of syrup is worth more than a barrel of oil, Whynott’s descriptions of black market dealings and syrup heists highlight the value of this sweet crop…Balancing the global history of the maple syrup trade with its local impact, The Sugar Season immerses readers in a reading experience both historical and personal in nature.”

Publishers Weekly, 2/21/2014

“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…Enlightening and alarming.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune, 3/9/14

“Tells the story of the annual sap run, when the cycle of warming daytime temperatures and nighttime freezes triggers the movement of sap in the sugar maples. Despite growth and technological advances, it remains such an elemental story—of trees and their biology, of children working alongside grandparents, of steam and sparks in the sugar house in the overnight boiling down of the sap…Lyrical history, geography and insights into family life centered around a demanding business.”

Boston Globe, 3/5/14

“A wide-ranging look inside the maple syrup business…Whynott skillfully explains how maple syrup gets made, how vitally important weather is, and how global warming may threaten the industry’s future…Whynott’s engaging book offers a skillful and fascinating peek behind the curtain of one of the region’s oldest and most beloved traditional industries.”

Boston Globe, 3/10/14

“Whynott offers scores of statistics while keeping his narrative focused squarely on the people who labor in the sugarhouses that dot the New England Landscape.”

New York Post, 3/2/14

“While focusing on New Hampshire’s Bascom family, who’ve been producing maple syrup since 1853, Whynott details a multimillion-dollar industry with its own hall of fame, a black market and an OPEC-like organization. And if you’ve ever wondered how reverse osmosis figures in maple syrup, you’ll find out here.”

Taste for Life, March 2014

“Offers a glimpse into one of the oldest agricultural crafts in the US and the challenges it faces.”

PopMatters.com, 3/4/14

“What began as a curious search to uncover the mechanics and marketing of maple syrup turns, in his calm telling, into a case study of how venerable family enterprises deal with an uncertain future…Parts of this tale recall John McPhee’s fact-laden reports about our earth and those who seek to comprehend its hidden components.”

Winnipeg Free Press, 3/1/14

“There are many flavours in this affectionate look at the maple-syrup industry in the United States, along with a light taste of the Canadian flow…The Sugar Season includes nostalgia, family histories, business competition, technological development, the free-market approach of the U.S. (compared to the marketing-board approach of Quebec) and, as a disturbing subtext, environmental concern…The Sugar Season does a good job of taking us from the days of tin buckets and wooden spouts to vacuum pumps and tubing, also providing readers with a look to the future…[Whynott] makes you pause and appreciate a nibble on a maple leaf sugar candy.”

Saveur, 3/6/14
“A closely observed portrait of a largely unknown world—one that is full of interesting characters who have devoted their lives to transforming an intensely seasonal crop into a global commodity…it’s a smart, engrossing read that gives this sweet crop—one of America’s oldest agricultural products—its full due.”

Shelf Awareness for Readers, 3/14/14
“Whynott delves into the industry’s particulars, shining light on its history, science and politics. Whynott’s love for his subject is clear; his writing grows lyrical when he rhapsodizes about winter walks in the woods or the taste of pure maple syrup fresh off the boil… A fascinating glimpse into an ancient process that feeds a thoroughly modern industry.”

Roanoke Times, 3/9/14
“Pass me the doughboys and a bottle of Grade A Light Amber, please.”

Hudson Valley News, 3/5/14
“Delightful…This fascinating book tells us what we need to know about an undertaking that is steeped in tradition and is now embracing new technologies that can ensure its continuing existence. It’s a sweet read.”

Manchester Union-Leader, 3/8/14
“Tells the story of the 2012 sugar season as well as Bascom’s rise to being the largest maple syrup producer in the Granite State.”

InfoDad, 3/13/14
“An enthralling exploration of the maple-syrup industry and the people who keep this very old occupation (by American standards) going in the 21st century…Intriguing and engaging.”

Beverly Citizen, 3/15/14
“[A] fascinating exploration of the maple syrup industry…Part business case study and part John McPhee nonfiction adventure into the depths of a subject—as told by a host of driven, devoted and talented characters. Whynott’s comprehensive lay of the land includes climate change, the transformation of syrup production into a bankable industry, the interdependent community of syrup makers, the forests and their health, the process of making syrup and the complexity of the syrup itself.”

Easthampton Valley Advocate (Ma), 3/13/14
“Shows the business of maple sugaring as a sophisticated, complex industry, subject, like all industries, to market forces and circumstances beyond producers’ control.”

Toronto Globe and Mail, 3/22/14
“Provides keen insights into this particular branch of modern agriculture, and makes a strong case for maple syrup as a bellwether for the continent’s environmental health.”

The Writer, May 2014
“An in-depth contemplation of the maple syrup industry.”

Keene Sentinel, 4/6/14
“[Whynott] introduces readers to many of Bascom’s neighbors, maple syrup makers who produce it in the wood-fired mom-and-pop traditions of quintessential New Hampshire. The book doesn’t hide the sour side of the industry or even the Bascom family warts.”

Berkeley Beacon, 4/3/14
“Sheds light on the underappreciated maple syrup industry…[Whynott’s] words bring the reader to the sugarhouses, making the importance of maple syrup a relatable topic for anyone.”

San Francisco Book Review, 4/11/14
“[Whynott] takes us through the entire process from sapling to store shelf, from how it was done in the past to the current process…I was amazed how easily Whynott provided an educational experience with the feel of a heartfelt memoir…This book is just too delicious to pass up.”

Greenfield Recorder, 4/12/14
“Whynott spins a riveting tale…He convincingly argues that because of its dependence on individual trees and temperatures, the maple business may be closer to nature than most other enterprises.”

Digital Americana, Winter 2014
“One of those rare texts that makes you want to know more about the subject that you are being told about…The story that Whynott presents to us is an inherently American one.”

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 Category

Vermont 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 facade…Whynott provides a compelling overview into an industry entering the 21st century with head-spinning technological advances.”

CivilEats.com, 6/19/14
“[Whynott] is a master of observation and description, who combines just the right amount of romanticism and humor with research and facts…An intricate, information-packed story. There is also a whole lot of drama and international intrigue…But the book also looks at the richness within life as a maple farmer: the multigenerational traditions and history, the community building and friendships, and the beauty of the forest and ecological respect for the tree…The Sugar Season serves as a thorough, hard-hitting example of the ripple effect climate change and pollution can and will have.”

Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-05
An inside look at the maple syrup industry. From small, family-operated sugarhouses that use metal buckets to collect sap to mega-million–dollar outfits that run thousands of miles of plastic tubing over hundreds of acres of maple trees, Whynott (Writing/Emerson Coll.; A Country Practice: Scenes from the Veterinary Life, 2004, etc.) takes readers behind the often closed doors of the syrup industry in both the United States and Canada. Closely following one man's year of operation, the author examines the proper weather conditions required for the sap to run, explains in detail the process of reverse osmosis, which reduces the amount of water in the sap and thereby concentrates the sugar content, and chronicles the sometimes-risky business of buying and selling sap and syrup based on projections and borrowed money. Whynott provides details on the shapes, styles and designs of sugarhouses and explains how syrup is graded. Through extensive meteorological data and numerous statistics—e.g., one man's 63,865 taps produced 1,373 gallons of syrup during a seven-hour boil, the 2010 U.S. production was 20 million pounds, while the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, with more than 7,000 members, made five times that amount in 2012—Whynott shows the intimate, almost reverent relationship the maple producers have with their trees. They have been handed down from generation to generation like prized family heirlooms, valued not only for their moneymaking abilities, but for their majesty and beauty. Also evident is the deep concern syrup producers have regarding climate change, as the entire industry is dependent on certain weather conditions. These conditions are in constant flux, placing a multimillion-dollar industry in possible jeopardy. Thorough research provides fascinating insight into the sweet business of maple syrup.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306822056
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 420,010
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet 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 is described as “an accomplished master of the literary journalism of everyday life.”

His book about migratory commercial beekeepers, Following the Bloom, was published in 1991 by Stackpole Books, in 1992 by Beacon Press in the Concord Library Series, and in 2004 in a Penguin/Tarcher edition with a new preface and epilogue. It was optioned for development as a feature film. Giant Bluefin, his book about the New England bluefin tuna fishery, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in hardcover in 1995 and North Point Press in paperback in 1996. It was a highly recommended selection in the New York Review of Books Reader’s Catalog and was reviewed widely, including a feature on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” A Unit of Water, A Unit of Time, a book about a boatyard in Maine owned by the son of E. B. White, was an independent bookstore bestseller, and was read in its entirety on an NPR books program at the affiliate in Ames, Iowa. It was published by Doubleday in 1999, by Washington Square Press in 2000. Australian rights were purchased by Hodder Headline. A Country Practice, his book about a veterinary clinic and a woman just out of vet school, was published by North Point Press in 2004. It was optioned for development as a television series by Creative Convergence, and selected as one of the best 10 nonfiction books of 2004 by New Hampshire Public Radio.

Whynott has taught writing and literature at the University of Massachusetts, Mount Holyoke College, and Columbia University. He is currently an associate professor of writing in the Writing, Literature and Publishing Program at Emerson College, where he served as director of the MFA program from 2002-2009. He received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach at the University of the Andes, Bogota, Colombia in the spring of 2013. In addition to his writing and teaching, he has been at different times a concert piano tuner, a dolphin trainer, a commercial fisherman, and a boogie-woogie pianist. Whynott is an eleventh generation Cape Codder. He lives in Langdon, a small town in southwestern New Hampshire.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    High Branch

    •This is MapleClan's High Branch•
    <p>
    ~Ivystar~

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)