CONWAY, Mass. — Bay State sugarmakers were rejoicing over what was for many a record-setting February production.
“I’ve never made that much in February,” said Robert Spencer of Mt. Massaemet Sugar House in Shelburne Falls, Mass.
Spencer said he had already made half a crop by the time the month was done. Approximately 510 gallons off his 3,900 tap pipeline.
“Most I ever got in February before this year was 160 gallons,” Spencer said.
All of it was light grades, he said. A line of seven light testers were on his sugarhouse window.
He was like many sugarmakers in the state and throughout lower New England who were scrambling to get all their taps out and keep up with the early season.
Howard Boyden of Boyden Bros. Maple in Conway, Mass. was also at a half a crop already, about 500 gallons.
“And it’s the most beautiful syrup we’ve ever made,” Boyden said on Friday.
Meanwhile, at Stonegate Farm in Conway today, sugarmaker Dana Goodfield was boiling and hosting a first tree tapping event on behalf of the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association. A crowd of sugarmakers and dignitaries kicked off the maple promotion month in the state.
“It’s great to have an early season,” said Massachusetts Maple Producers Association Coordinator Winton Pitcoff. “Many Massachusetts sugarmakers have already made lots of excellent syrup, and we hope the weather holds for a while so we can continue sugaring through March.”
Massachusetts is hosting its second annual Maple Weekend event, March 19-20, when sugarhouses around the state will be open to visitors. Many restaurants will feature menu items made with Massachusetts maple syrup that weekend as well, Pitcoff said.
But some producers were concerned about the forecast for next week, which calls for a stretch of temperatures in the 60s and maybe even 70 by midweek.
“I hope March doesn’t end up a short month,” Spencer said.
The 2015 season yielded a record crop for the Massachusetts maple industry, with 75,000 gallons produced.
The previous two years were excellent as well, with producers making more than 60,000 gallons each year.