Sweet season has early start for maple producers
County producers still hoping for some cold spring nights
Neil R. Ripley strains syrup after boiling the sap collected from the maple trees in his sugar woods in Fenwick.
CUMBERLAND COUNTY – An early start to the maple season could mean an early finish for producers.
West Brook’s David Dickinson said earlier this week his trees had not produced anything to speak of in the previous four to five days.
“ Sap began running early this year, a lot of the producers trees produced at the end of February. We missed that run because we didn’t have our trees tapped,” he said.
Dickinson has 17,500 taps that he said have produced roughly 900 gallons so far this year, adding that the season generally runs from mid-March to mid-April and is 60 per cent finished by those guidelines.
“ We had one run at the first of March when the sap ran for 11 straight days,” he said. “ That’s unusual. It generally runs for three or four days, stops for a day or so and then picks up again.”
Dickinson said the warm weather last week stopped sap from running and that he is hoping freezing temperatures through the night return to finish out the rest of the season.
Fenwick producer Neil R. Ripley said this year has been the best run he’s seen since 1984.
“Last night was the first night we’ve boiled all night in 12 years,” Ripley said earlier this month.
The temperatures at that time were ideal for maple producers, according to Ripley, who explained that it is best for the temperature to drop to minus five at night and rise to plus five in the daytime.
John Goodwin, who operates 20,000 to 25,000 taps on Lynn Mountain, said his season normally runs later than most because they are at the top of the mountain where the temperatures are colder, therefore the season for them runs from the third or fourth week in March to the third week in April. However,
Goodwin said they were now about halfway through the season and have produced roughly 1,500 to 2,000 gallons of syrup so far this year.
“Another three good runs would give us a good season,” Goodwin said, adding that a good run would consist of producing 200 to 250 gallons of syrup in the run of a day.
“ We’ve made some beautiful looking syrup this year. We haven’t made this light of syrup in years.”
Goodwin explained that Fenwick and other lower lying areas are generally done before he gets going and to date they are ahead of what they would normally produce in comparison to previous years.
Neil Ripley displays the finished product from sap collected at his sugar woods in Fenwick.