The Close of Maple Season

Last weekend we had our last sap boil of the season. Though we had collected a decent amount during our final week, the warm weather left us only this last bit by Sunday:

So we pulled out the taps and boiled our last buckets down. We ended up with about 11 pints of syrup this year. Not bad, but nowhere near our high of 17 pints in the previous two years.

One thing about living in New England is that you actually get a fair amount of reporting on maple sugaring, and larger producers are also calling it quits this year. A radio report I heard mentioned that many farmers were happy with their outcomes if they kept an eye on the actual temperatures instead of the calendar.

That’s because we had the warmest February on record, and the sap was running probably two weeks earlier than normal. And since we kind of couldn’t believe it, we didn’t and up tapping early enough.

Our bad. 

So this year we missed out on the light syrup that comes early, but that’s no big deal — I prefer the darker stuff anyway. Luckily, we still haven’t used up last year’s syrup, so we should be good for the coming year despite our bad timing. 

Next year, we may put the taps in early and just get in the habit of checking them regularly while we wait for the weather to turn — that way we’d be prepared for sap whenever it started running.

Still, climate change has its drawbacks, since maple sugaring has some very specific weather requirements (daytime highs in the 40s and nighttime lows in the 20s). If this ends up being our new normal (as opposed to record-breaking snowfall), it could mean that making our own sugar becomes more challenging in the future.


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