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Maple Syrup producers worried
Maple sap will flow this spring but the million-dollar question is when.
Veteran maple syrup producer Don Giffin has never missed a year in his 40-plus year career of turning out maple syrup products on his farm located south of Blenheim.
And he’s confident — despite the unusually mild winter — it will happen again this spring. Bur he admits some years are poor.
Giffin, voted world champion maple syrup producer at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in 1997-98, is counting on Mother Nature to provide the region with a “sugar snow” in the coming days and weeks.
He said the storm that dumped snow in a number of U.S. states south of Lake Erie early Friday would have answered his prayer, had it shifted northward.
“Hopefully the next storm will bring the snow and cold weather we badly need,” he said. “Regardless, we plan to begin tapping trees on Valentine’s Day.”
Giffin said he’s constantly being asked when he thinks this spring’s maple syrup season will begin. He even received a call this week from a woodlot owner vacationing in Florida wanting to know when he should return to Ontario to start tapping his trees.
Giffin says maple trees are smarter than people — they’ve been around for hundreds of years — and work closely with Mother Nature.
“A great deal also revolves around the angle of the sun on the trees at this time of year,” he said. “Maple trees are cued to the sun.”
Giffin said warm winter weather conditions are not confined only to southwestern Ontario. It’s the same for much of the entire upper Midwest from New York City to Chicago.
But he’s heard reports that sap is flowing in the New England states.
“All we can really do is watch and wait and hope we get at least a taste of winter, complete with snow ,” he said. “It would give the maple syrup industry the boost it badly needs.”