It's the sweetest time of year
Oh, spring is getting so close I can almost taste it! Despite the wet snow cover, the days are noticeably longer, the sun is higher in the sky, and the buckets are out.
Jeffrey Jenness of Orebed Sugar Shack in DeKalb Junction says it's been a slow year so far for sap, "Mother nature hasn't given us anything yet." As of Monday, Jenness had only collected a couple hundred gallons of sap. For an operation like his, that's not enough to get the equipment dirty and start making syrup.
But that was yesterday. Today's weather looks better.
"It's just going to depend on the temperature. You've got to have 40 degrees during the day and 20 at night, so the trees can fill back up with sap. Because the trees only have so much sap in them, and after 2 or 3 days, they're empty. And if you don't have that temperature change, they don't fill back up."
Back when he joined his wife's family business, Jenness says they wouldn't have tapped trees until March. But, "We just don't have the snows and temperatures we had 20 or 30 years ago." As the winter has gotten warmer, sugaring season has started earlier.
Last winter, with its bizarrely high March temperatures, got things off to a much earlier start than usual. And unfortunately, an earlier finish.
"We were at about a 30-35 percent last year of what we usually would get. It was too warm too quick. The trees just shut down."
The Orebed Sugar Shack may have produced less syrup, but it didn't necessarily hurt the bottom line. Jenness says instead of selling at lower wholesale prices, they held on to more syrup, and sold it at higher retail prices.
Still, he's hoping for a productive season this year. And that's all in the hands of Madam Nature.
Check out The Dirt tomorrow for more maple syrup news! David Sommerstein will check out the new maple porter that's soon to be on tap at Lake Placid Pub and Brewery.
Tags: agriculture, climate, food, maple syrup, small business, weather