The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has announced the results of research into the economic feasibility of producing syrup from American beech trees. Conducted by Adam D. Wild, director of the Uihlein Maple Research Forest in Lake Placid, the research examined the yield potential and economic feasibility of tapping beech trees for syrup production.
American beech is an abundant hardwood species in northern New York forests. Based on current sales of $4.50 per ounce of beech syrup, a gallon would price at $576, but before start tapping beech trees, be sure to read Wild’s report.
Due to the limited amount of sap produced for this small-scale project, Wild used a steam kettle and stovetop to process the beech sap into syrup. His report notes that higher mineral content of the beech syrup and includes data recorded for sap flow timing, sap yield and sweetness, tree health and taphole closure, and economic calculations.
Northern New York’s maple industry value has increased over the past 14 years form $3.25 million annually to more than $20 million with room yet to grow. Beech syrup production, beech-maple syrup blending, and beech beverage bottling are among product options for additional research.
Beech syrup samples were provided to the public during the 2022 New York State Maple Weekends at the Uihlein Maple Research Forest and at maple producer conferences in northern New York and the Hudson Valley in early 2023.
You can read Wild’s report, “Feasibility of American Beech Syrup Production in Northern New York,” here.
Photo: Syrup made from beech trees at Uihlein Maple Research Forest, Lake Placid, NY. On the left, syrup made using reverse osmosis prior to boiling sap; at right, syrup made from boiling straight from beech sap courtesy Adam D. Wild.