Sweet sea­son has early start for maple pro­duc­ers

County pro­duc­ers still hop­ing for some cold spring nights

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - FRONT PAGE - By Rose Willigar

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.

Rose Willigar - The Ci­ti­zen

Rose Willigar - The Ci­ti­zen

Neil Ri­p­ley dis­plays the fin­ished prod­uct from sap col­lected at his su­gar woods in Fen­wick.

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