If you live in New England, or watch the Weather Channel for fun, you know that last week we had an early taste of summer: temps in the 70’s and 80’s. What you might not know, is that weather like that, this early in the year, means the maple syrup harvest is screwed.
According to the maple specialist for the University of Vermont Extension Service (the folks who work with all aspects of agriculture in the state), Tim Wilmot, the high temps ended the sap runs and forced the trees into early bud. Normally, mud season into spring means temps below freezing at night and well above freezing during the day, which causes the trees’ sap to run, preparing the tree for summer.
With that season being cut short by such high temps, Wilmot said that reports he’s getting are that most sugarmakers harvested only a half to two-thirds what they usually do. That will translate into a scarcity of Vermont maple syrup and maple syrup products this year.
Even with the temps dropping as they have over the past few days, any sap that starts to run again will likely be of poor quality and flavor.
If you’ve never had real Vermont maple syrup, you have no idea what you are missing. With the way prices are likely to spike this year, you may not have a chance to rectify that until next year… we hope.
(photo credit for maple tree in summer is kindra clineff)