Weird Weather Saps Syrup Maker

By: Robert Borrelli
By: Robert Borrelli

The recent cold snap is wreaking havoc on many things.

Back in December and January, maple syrup makers were wondering when it was so warm, would the sap run when the time came?

Producers say cold weather is just what they need.

Walking through a Rube Goldberg network of plastic tubing, Richard Snider of New Paris was worried earlier this winter that not having a winter could mean not having syrup for pancakes!

Snider says, “We were concerned that if we didn't have winter, that we might not have the best of seasons."

For more than 20 years, Snider has walked the woods tapping trees for sap.

The season, which normally lasts a month to six weeks, creates up to 800 gallons of sweet, sticky, maple syrup.

Unusual weather doesn't help the process, urging Snider to say, "We're ready for some normal. We need the freezing nights and thawing days or we won't have any sap come out of the tree. Sap will only run on a thawing day following a freezing night."

Last season, with a warm January, it turned out great, and Snider made more syrup than ever. A new tubing system that uses a vacuum line to help draw the sap to the collection tank may have helped.

Snider says the sap should run within two weeks. The average tapping date is February 15, next Thursday.

Snider says warm days following freezing nights changes the pressure in the trees and forces the sap out.

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