LENOX, Mass.—The second Nor’Easter in a week in the Northeast has slowed down the trees and given sugarmakers a much needed break.
“We boiled nine out of the last 10 days in a row through Wednesday,” said Joanne Birch of Readsboro, Vt. who has already made half a crop.
But on Thursday and Friday, Birch got 22.5 inches of snow, piled on top of the 9 inches from the Nor’Easter last week.
“It’s all fluffy stuff but I don’t want to have to go in the woods,” she said.
Sugarmakers were enjoying the breather that came with the storm.
Brian Adams of Shushan, N.Y. along with his wife Sandy, worked for 36 hours straight Monday into Tuesday to keep up with tanks, collecting and boiling.
"We were happy to get a rest on Friday," he said when the storm came through. The Adams' have made 1,500 gallons already off of 8,000 taps.
In Massachusetts, sugarmakers were smiling on Friday at the sugarhouse of Bill and Elaine Markham of Lenox, Mass., who hosted the annual first tree tapping event in Massachusetts with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. The event was hosted by the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association helping promote the statewide Maple Open House weekend on March 17 & 18. www.massmaple.org
“I got half a season so far and I like the forecast ahead,” said Howard Boyden of Conway, Mass., adding that he made 52 gallons of very light syrup Friday morning, just after the storm.
“My first 200 gallons was light,” he said.
Rob Leab of Hancock, Mass. said he’s also made mostly light syrup.
“We’ve made half a crop already and were pretty happy with what we’ve made so far,” he said on Friday, March 9.
Meanwhile, the Midwest is still on stand by, waiting for the season to get rolling.
“It’s been pretty slow so far,” said Bob Larson of New Richmond, Wisc. Larson has 95 sap bags scattered on his property.
Larson said the forecast for the coming week looks promising for Wisconsin and hoped to get some syrup jugged by week’s end.
In New York, sugarmakers are gearing up for the first of two Maple Open House Weekends on March 17 & 18 and 24 & 25.
The NYS Maple Producer's Association sponsors the event over two weekends to catch the difference in seasons from north to south in the state, said Angela Swan, the event coordinator. www.mapleweekend.com
“We have 177 sugarhouses participating for 2018 which is nearly double that of 5 years ago when we had 90 sites open,” she said on Friday. “The event has has become so successful that maple producers are now considering open house traffic and activities when planning additions to their sugarhouses. Pancake breakfasts continue to be a big draw.”
Swan said eye-catching billboards are on display across the state directing consumers to mapleweekend.com and more than 17,000 followers on Facebook.
“We are excited to interact with so many people who we know are specifically interested in a maple taste experience as the event continues to grow,” she said.