March and maple syrup typically go hand in hand in Maine.
But this year, Mother Nature has different plans.
Joy Hollowell reports.
“This is 5 days worth, and in a good flow day, this bucket will fill and overflow in a day.”
Len Price, owner of Nutkin Knoll Farm in Newburgh, says it’s not the first time they’ve come up dry for Maine Maple Sunday.
“We’d had three times on Maine Maple Sunday, in the last 21 years that we’ve participated in Maine Maple Sunday, have not made any syrup yet,” says Price.
The sap is flowing. But much like our spring, it’s slow and unpredictable.
“Yeah, the freeze/thaw cycles haven’t really settled into a spring pattern yet,” says Price.
And while some folks may be getting a bit anxious about the slow start to the season, it’s actually right on track.
the last couple of years, it’s been earlier for us and we’ve made a lot of syrup in February or so,” says Kathy Hopkins, Extension Educator for UMaine Cooperative Extension. “But this year, it’s back to the traditional timing of maple syrup production.”
And even if we get a well deserved warm up in April-
“The woods are cool with all the snow keeping the trees cool and refrigerated,” Hopkins says. “Go back to your sugar houses in April, there will be plenty available in April.”
This is Price’s 27th year tapping trees. By now, he’s well aware of the “nature” of the game.
“You have to be ready early March, late February,” says Price. “But you have to be patient because it’s not going to happen until Mother Nature is ready.”
According to Hopkins, the maple syrup season in Maine can range from the end of January until the middle of April.