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Craig Line - Thursday, February 28, 2013

It was disclosed today that the previously reported Great Maple Syrup Heist of 2012 has reached its ugly tentacles further than what was previously known, deep into the heart of Vermont Maple Country, all the way south from Montreal, Quebec to that bastion of independent, free-thinking progenitors of the sweet pancake condiment in Calais, Vermont.

It has been purported that one of the previously-thought-to-be squeaky-clean proprietors of a back-woods sugaring operation, he of the hardly-known Kents’ Corner Sugarhouse, Greg Lyons, has taken a turn toward the dark side, allegedly purchasing several tractor trailer tanker loads of what is now known to be stolen maple syrup from warehouses outside Montreal.

“It was just more than he could resist,” offered spokesman Wally Bevins, after first issuing a curt “No comment” during a hastily called press conference this morning.

“He was suspicious of the sweet stuff, sure, and questioned the driver, known only as ‘Jacques,’ but after such a disastrous season last year, it was just too tempting. I mean, maple syrup offered for sale for as little as $3.00 a gallon? C’mon, would any of you ask from where it had come? I don’t think so…”

Apparently Lyons, said Bevins, first thought the large tanker truck pulling into his driveway last summer was a lost milk truck, looking for the dairy farm up the road. But, when the driver emerged from the cab, speaking only some rural, guttural dialect of Quebecois French and with an obviously very sticky substance dripping from his beard, Lyons began to realize all was not as it first appeared.

After first attempting to offer the vagabond driver a plateful of his best buckwheat cakes, or at least maple-walnut French Toast (appropriately enough, he thought) Lyons soon realized that the driver was in fact just anxious to consummate the deal, so against his better judgment, or perhaps because of it, he offered to buy the entire truckload for the absurd sum of $7,462, quickly calculating in his head that when resold at his usual highly inflated retail prices, he stood to realize a profit in the tens of dollars, far more than is typical in any sugaring operation.
That is what tipped off authorities, Bevins said. “The guy was obviously living high on the hog—throwing lavish parties, hob-knobbing with the rich and famous, flying to places like Rio and Hawai’i on a moment’s notice. With his primary income supposedly coming from making maple syrup, it just didn’t all add up…”
“And, he didn’t even taste the stuff,” said Bevins. “He’s never really been that concerned with how his syrup is produced or tastes anyway, so why would this be any different?”
Lyons quickly offered to buy more of the pilfered pancake topping, arranging delivery of future truckloads with “Jacques” in a few weeks’ time, after he was able to install several underground storage tanks.

“With my basement as full of junk as it is, and with the need to keep this stuff out of sight, I took the risk of being spotted engaging in unlawful excavation by the local design review board, or the Vermont Land Trust, but fortunately, those guys were asleep at the wheel as usual…”

“Who cares where it came from or who made it? I mean, syrup is syrup, right? It’s all the same—from New York state, New Hampshire, Vermont,  Quebec, Log Cabin, my Aunt Jemimah …” Bevins quoted Lyons as uttering as he was handcuffed and stuffed into the back seat of a Washington County Sheriff’s Dep’t patrol car pulled from speed trap duty on the County Road.

Bevins said that Lyons was served with Grand Jury indictments, habeas corpus documents and a menu from the Wayside Restaurant in Berlin, Vermont and is awaiting processing and arraignment at an undisclosed Border Patrol holding cell. His fate at this time, just as another maple season is almost upon us, is unknown.


For more information, please contact Mr. Lyons’s attorney, Mr. Freshly Crisp-Herald, esq.




History of Maple

A native Chief returning to his village after a hunting trip threw his tomahawk into a sugar maple tree trunk. The spring sun warmed the tree and sap ran down the bark from the cut the tomahawk had made and into a birch bark container left under the tree. Thinking the crystal clear sap was water, the Chief’s wife poured it in with some meat she was cooking. As the water boiled away, a sticky sweet glaze formed on the meat, adding a wonderfully sweet maple flavor to the meal.

When settlers came with metal tools, they drilled small holes in the trees, whittled wooden spouts and replaced the wooden troughs used by Native Peoples with wooden buckets and covers. They made their maple sugar in large iron kettles suspended over a fire by wooden poles or tripods. Making maple sugar was common in Vermont, being some distance from any seaport where white sugar was imported. 

As maple sugaring evolved, arches were built, containing the heat from roaring wood fires and holding large flat pans on top. Buildings to house these “boilers” was the next step. Sugarhouses today still resemble those early structures with the characteristic cupola on the roof allowing the sweet maple scented steam to billow forth.

To find out how Vermont sugarmakers make our maple syrup today click on “How We Make It.”