Updated: Mar 1
We Love Maple Syrup
Karen and Jay share fun facts and the happy tradition of New Hampshire Maple Syrup
Sometimes it’s important to just appreciate the little things in life – and maple syrup is definitely worth appreciating. It’s natural. It’s pure and it’s definitely New Hampshire. And it’s happening right now!
Around this time each year as the winter begins to thaw, a spirited group of people take on a unique task called sugaring, or in layman's terms, making maple syrup. It’s a time-honored tradition across many northern states in the US and provinces in Canada, especially because North America is the only part of the world that produces pure maple syrup, part of the reason why many producers refer to it as liquid gold.’
In New Hampshire, local producers are regularly nominated as the best maple syrup producers in the world, no small feat considering the dedication producing maple syrup requires. Oftentimes members of sugaring teams work 80-100 hours a week, trudging through deep snow so collection tanks don’t overfill with the 40-50 gallons of tree sap needed to make just one gallon of syrup. But as many producers of maple syrup can attest, they do it because of the joy the sweet stuff brings to others.
This past year though, the pandemic hit right at the beginning of the production season. Given the finite period of production, producers small and large weren’t just worried about lost profit, but about survival. Hard choices had to be made by many of these business owners as to how they’d adapt to this reality but did so with one goal in mind: getting back to business. For the past year, many of these business owners have been planning their own comeback of sorts. And with new protocols in place, many have been able to do so, some already reporting their best projected yields in years. While maple syrup may not necessarily be deemed ‘essential’ in these times, it’s a simple pleasure that makes tough moments a little easier. The commitment these business owners have shown to their craft throughout, like so many others across this country, is one of the untold stories of the past year. Without these unspoken heroes, we may not have had some of the sweet little things that have gotten us through the pandemic. So, whether you prefer a short stack, tall stack, waffles, or even French toast, it’s always that final touch of maple syrup that counts – and makes the day just so much better!
Elliot and Parents on ‘Ellen’- Pretty ‘Sweet’
Elliot Perry. Only nine years old and already making his mark on the world. Elliot is the amazing son of our great friends BJ and Carrie Perry of Bedford. I have known the Perry family for close to 30 years and their impact on our community is amazing, especially given Elliot’s difficult circumstances at birth. Weighing slightly more than one pound and given little chance of survival, Elliot, always a fighter and now after fifty (50!) surgeries - Elliot has gone on to achieve some remarkable things. That’s why when I saw Elliot and his family on national TV last week on the Ellen DeGeneres Show – I was not surprised in the least.
You see, Elliot is young man who believes in giving back. He is a child ambassador for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, the place that saved his life and provides him medical services even today. He has also served as the Easter Seals youth spokesman for two years, attending more than twenty events each year to share his story of the specialty care services he received. And today he is committed to building two ADA compliant playgrounds in New Hampshire. Did I mention he is only 9 years old?
Last week, Elliot’s story and his campaign to build playgrounds was featured on the Ellen show. Setup in their living room in Bedford, New Hampshire, Elliot and his parents shared his story, pitched this program, and Ellen recognized his efforts and awarded him a $20,000 donation to help build the playgrounds.
Following the Ellen appearance, donations flooded in and put Elliot across the goal line. With more than $121,000, the playgrounds can now be built.
Karen and I are so proud of Elliot and his parents. We have watched Elliot grow, shared in the milestones he has overcome, and have cheered him on along the way. I also want to commend the community for rallying around Elliot. Public officials, local celebrities, and friends of the Perry’s have joined in Elliot’s campaign to build playgrounds and celebrated with him when he recently hit his goal. This kid is something special. How many kids can get the Governor of their state to make sure the Governor’s press conference wraps up on time to ensure the public tunes into watch their appearance on national TV. Way to go Elliot!
NH Maple Syrup – Liquid Gold!
March is officially ‘Maple Sugaring Month’ in New Hampshire. A little-known fact is that the Granite State is one of the largest producers of maple syrup in the country. Our neighbors to the west may take most of the fame but that does not mean that our mighty maple industry is not alive and well! The Maple Sugaring industry is another hidden gem in New Hampshire and serves to bolster not only our export sector (because we all know New Hampshire Maple Syrup is the highest quality in the land – far superior to that of the unnamed state on our western border) but also supplements our strong tourism industry, and many of the Sugar Houses are open to the public and offer a strong learning experience for families, and especially children.
With over 350 Maple producers in New Hampshire, the industry is also a major employer and small business driver. Many of these Maple houses are family-owned businesses that are multi-generational and, in some cases, go back more than 100 years. Combined these small establishments produce over 169,000 gallons of this tasty treat every year and while production is down from historical highs over a 100 years ago, with modernization and strong forestry conservation efforts, we are seeing an ever-increasing output, which hopefully will continue for years to come.
Positive Profile of the Week - John Coughlin
This week I am delighted to highlight a wonderful man – John Coughlin – as our Profile of the Week. Recently elected as Hillsborough County Attorney, John has an enormous set of responsibilities. And, thankfully, he has the experience, the intellect and especially the integrity to superbly do the job.
I first met John and his wife Pam back in 1998 on the campaign trail when I was running for Governor. Both John and Pam were active members of the local Republican Party in Amherst and supporters of my campaign. Pam herself would go on to serve in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and later as Hillsborough County Register of Deeds.
John comes from a family with a proud tradition of ‘giving back.’ His father served in the military and later went on to become Nashua’s first school business administrator while John’s mother was nurse. John would go on to serve in the Marines and do multiple tours in Iraq. John was practicing law in Nashua when his calling to public service came a knocking.
In 2002, John defeated an 18-year incumbent. John’s hardworking door to door campaign helped him achieve victory to the post of Hillsborough County Attorney.
While getting settled into his new post he was once again called up to active duty. He was deployed to Iraq. During his time in Iraq he helped the government establish a trial court system and served as a legal military advisor. In 2004 while serving overseas, John was appointed as New Hampshire District Court judge and following his return home from service he proudly served on the bench unit his retirement in 2020, most recently as a judge on the New Hampshire Circuit Court.
But that wasn’t the end of John’s commitment to serving his country and community. Multiple tours in Iraq, a distinguished military career, and years of upholding the laws of the land as a judge wasn’t enough for John. You see John is committed to making a difference and he knew he could do more.
The Hillsborough County Attorney Office (a post he had earlier held) had experienced some difficult issues years after his departure. The office had lost the public’s confidence, so John did what John does. He stepped forward to contribute his efforts and restore trust in the office!
So, this past year, he announced his candidacy and easily won election to the post he first held nearly 20 years ago. And, not surprisingly, he has already gotten to work.
John has a distinguished resume and a set of accomplishments which are truly impressive. However, it is John’s character and his leadership that are even more remarkable. Hillsborough County is so very fortunate to have his service – and we are blessed to know John as a dear friend.
Quotes of the Week: Maple Syrup
“A waffle is like a pancake with a syrup trap.”
“I’m not from a maple producing area and so my maple syrup credentials are very much of the eating side.”
“I think maybe, if I could be a Canadian super hero, I'd have some kind of freezing power and some sort of maple syrup weapon. Could be a little sticky.”
“We don't want you convicted for condiment theft. You go to that prison, you'll meet big-time operators. Maple syrup stealers.”