Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wierd Weather Marks Beginning of 2012 Maple Syrup Season

Maple syrup season begins in 'weird weather year'
Maple syrup season off to sticky start
By Victoria Gray, QMI Agency Niagara
The Standard (Niagagara Region, Canada)

PELHAM - It’s a sticky situation — but boy will it be sweet.

White Meadows Farms started harvesting its maple syrup this week.

“We could have started earlier, but we weren’t ready,” said Richard Bering.

“It’s been such a weird weather year.”

Bering said January usually brings a deep freeze and because it didn’t happen nature might be confused, but as long as March is filled with cold nights and warm days the sap harvest will go well.

But if the weather takes a long-term turn for warmer temperatures, maple syrup could be in short supply this year.

“When the temperature goes up and stays up, all the sap goes up into the trees limbs and it’s game over for the farm.”

Fluctuating temperatures keep sap moving up and down the tree’s trunk. The colder the winter the higher the sap’s sugar content.

“The syrup will taste the same if the sugar content is low. We just have to boil it more, so in the end, we get less,” Bering said.

“Taste depends on a lot of things including the soil and the bush itself. Usually it always tastes the same.”

Although this year’s yield may be low and coming up short is always a worry for Bering, he knows all will work well.

“We haven’t really had the problem in the past, even on poor years we seem to get through,” he said.

White Meadows Farms started its Sugar Bush Adventure Feb. 11 and it continues on weekends. The self-guided tour begins with a wagon ride to the sugar bush where visitors can walk through 2 km of woods and learn about how Native Americans discovered maple syrup, how they processed it and used it, and how pioneers learned from them and began processing it for themselves.

At the end of the walk visitors to the Effingham St. operations will see how maple syrup is harvested and produced today. Throughout the journey visitors will learn about different types of trees, what they are used for and much more. There is also face painting, snow taffy and opportunity to learn to be a lumberjack using a two-man saw.

“Maple syrup is my life, so it’s hard to explain why I love it,” Bering says. “I’ve got the sweetest job in Canada.”

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