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Mild Winter Means Less Maple Syrup Produced

2012/04/02

Maple syrup season is already over in parts of Nova Scotia. “It was a fairly early start to the season and it was only about three and a half weeks long so it was fairly quick,” said

Scott Whitelaw, with Sugar Moon Farm in Earltown, N.S. In an average year, the farm would produce about 1,500 litres of maple syrup, but this season its 2,500 trees produced just 1,000 litres. With six record-setting days of high temperatures in March, including two days where temperatures approached 30 degrees, the syrup just didn’t flow the way it normally does, Whitelaw said.

“That week, on top of the unseasonably mild winter we had, just encouraged the trees to metabolize quicker than normal,” he said. Although the sap is still running, the trees have started to swell their buds, which changes the chemistry of the sap, he said. The good weather has brought a lot of visitors to the farm, he said, but as far as production goes, he said the winter and spring conditions were “unprecedented.”

“The warm spell — we’ve had warm spells before, but not that much. So yeah, the combination of the two is really what did us in.”

However, the business still has a popular restaurant, so Whitelaw said the shorter season isn’t too much of a blow for them. The taps will be pulled from the trees this week, Whitelaw said.

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