Fluctuating Temps Good for Maple Business

goodwin sugar house thumbnailST. JOHNSBURY - Thanks to the rapid change of temperatures beginning with a modest February thaw into what is now a snow-filled beginning of March, the Maple industry has enjoyed a very profitable and early start to the sugaring season.

This however, is beginning to become the norm for many maple producers in the northeast area. Many Sugar and Maple companies who have been used to the Maple season beginning by the end of March, have started to anticipate the Maple season beginning earlier February, due to the early start the past few years.

Doug Bragg, of Bragg Family Farm Sugarhouse says, "It's a little disturbing that we're starting so early (in the year). It's getting to be the norm almost. But the thing is that when it starts early, you know it's going to get cold again... so you get kind of two shots at it, it's almost like a second little season."

Who wouldn't love two tapping seasons to collect sugar and sap for Vermont Maple Syrup; there are many in the Maple industry who, now that they are accurately planning for such temperatures, are very happy with the new "two" season spring. At the same time, there are those who worry about the potential upcoming years where the thaw will begin early in the year, and the cold will not return, as the weather has done in the past, and maple producers will not be able to collect anywhere near enough sap. "The fear is that it's so warm that the season will end too soon." said Michael Bryant, a maple producer in southern Maine, "What you want is warm days, say 42 degrees, and colder nights, below 28 degrees."

Jeff Goodwin, owner of the Goodwin's Family Maple House, is very pleased with the amount of production his business has had so far this year. "We've had to use the boiler seven times, and we've produced close to seven-hundred gallons of syrup so far." Goodwin noted, "with the snow coming in, which is very good for the maple trees, this could be a really strong season."


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