LAKE PAUL - Despite the abnormally mild winter this year, Lake Paul producers says this year’s weather has been perfect for maple syrup.
Anna Hutchinson is the co-owner of Hutchinson Acres Inc. She says maple trees produce sap when the night temperature falls to -5 degrees and the daytime temperature is +5 degrees, with sun and rain helping things along. So, this year has been a great maple season so far, she says.
Other maple syrup enthusiasts agree, noting syrup collection is about two weeks earlier than normal.
At Hutchinson’s Acres, for example, they have been producing maple syrup since January.
“We hope, with the extended season, to increase our production,” says Hutchinson.
The weather changes certainly help with the production of more maple syrup, therefore increasing the ability to sell more products, she adds. In a normal year, between 45,000 and 75,000 liters of maple syrup is produced. She’s looking forward to seeing the difference at the end of this winter season.
Walter Larder, an interpretive crafts person at Ross Farm, says the museum has already started to tap trees and collect maple syrup, which is also earlier than normal.
“We tap as soon as the conditions are right, and the sap is running,” says Larder.
The pails are hanging on the trees for visitors to see and ask questions to staff.
Ross Farm is one of the few places in the province open to the public to view maple syrup production. On the weekend of March 24 and 25, the Wonders of Maple Syrup event will be held at the farm. During the day, there are explanations and demonstrations of the traditional process involved with collecting sap from the maple trees and boiling it down over an open fire to reduce it down to syrup.
“At different times throughout the day, I take folks to one of the maple trees here at Ross Farm and let them take part in tapping the tree and hanging the bucket,” says Larder. “I spend time answering questions around the fire as the sap boils down.”
In the cottage, visitors are given a sample of pancakes topped with locally-made maple syrup. In addition, Larder says there are lots of farm animals to see, including five new baby lambs born in the last couple of weeks. There will also be wagon or sleigh rides, depending on conditions.
Visitors need not worry should the maple sap stop running before the event in March. Larder says the sap is collected when it's running and then frozen and stored if the season is early, then thawed prior to the event.
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