Mr. President, each year as winter makes way for spring, across my home state of Maine you will see maple trees lined with metal buckets poised to collect delectable maple syrup. Maine is the third largest producer of maple syrup in America, and last year experienced a 14 percent increase, generating a remarkable 360,000 gallons. As maple sugar season commences and Maine looks forward to celebrating the time-honored Maple Sugar Sunday, I rise to commend Jackson's Sugar House & Vegetable Stand located in Oxford, ME.
Often times a small request sparks a marvelous business enterprise. For Roger Jackson, owner of Jackson's Sugar House & Vegetable Stand, his passion for maple syrup was reignited a few years ago when his granddaughter sought help for a school project on how to make the sweet liquid. Although Roger had been producing maple syrup on and off since he was 6 years old, his granddaughter's question renewed his love for this New England staple. And the results have been incredibly sweet.
As a veteran in maple syrup production, Roger is familiar with the trials and tribulations that go along with this endeavor. While it is often hard to turn a profit as a small producer, the smiles on his customers' faces truly make it all worthwhile. Further, compared to when Roger was a child, improvements in technology have certainly enhanced and eased the process of turning sap into maple sugar. For example, today Jackson's Sugar House uses a stainless steel evaporator--equipment that enables them to easily remove water and ensure better control over the quality of their product. This evaporation process is a vast improvement over Roger's childhood maple making experiences involving boiling sap over an open flame.
Roger's expertise in maple syrup has certainly not gone unnoticed. He was recently appointed by the Maine Department of Agriculture Commissioner, Walter Whitcomb, to the Maine Maple Task Force Study Group to represent producers of maple sugar products with 1,000 or fewer taps. This Task Force was created in May of 2011, as part of the State's legislation ``To Study the Promotion and Expansion of the Maine Maple Sugar Industry.'' Roger's participation on the task force has been instrumental in ensuring that the needs of small producers and mom and pop sugarhouse operations are vigorously advocated.
Maple syrup and all maple sugar products are certainly among the sweetest commodities produced in Maine. Thanks to the proficiency and resolve of individuals such as Roger Jackson, Maine continues to produce the highest quality maple products. I am proud to extend my congratulations to Roger Jackson and everyone at Jackson's Sugar House & Vegetable Stand for their dedication to excellence, and offer my best wishes for their continued success.
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