Mild winter concerns some maple syrup producers
Temperatures have been up and snowfall totals have been down throughout the region this winter, raising some concern for the maple syrup crop. But syrup producers say the weather during the six-week season when sap flows matters more than the weather leading up to it.
"The mild winter, I'm sure has some effect on the trees and the soil and the microorganisms and so forth, but as long as you get those freezes and thaws during the actual sap flow season, those are what control how much sap you get," said Brian Stowe, sugaring operations manager at the University of Vermont's Proctor Maple Research Center.
Below-freezing nights followed by warm days are necessary to start the sap flowing from maple trees, a period that usually begins in late February or early March. This year, those conditions arrived early in some areas, prompting producers like Ben Fisk, of Temple, to start collecting and boiling sap Feb. 2, more than a month earlier than last year.