NORTH GRANVILLE, N.Y.—A lot of sugarmakers are still enjoying good runs of sap.
“Hopefully we have nice prolonged season, I don’t want warm weather,” said Matt Rathbun of Rathbun’s Maple in North Granville, N.Y. and host of the annual first tree tapping ceremony with N.Y. state agriculture commissioner Richard Ball and other dignitaries.
Way up in Ellenburg, N.Y., Michael Bennett of 30,000-tap Full Throttle Maple was still waiting to get going.
“I haven’t been very busy yet,” Bennett told The Maple News. “We are lacking probably 4 to 6 degrees to get a decent run,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of little runs.”
Still, Bennett said he was ahead of his production compared to the same date last year.
In Northern Vermont, sugarmakers were getting frustrated.
"It's been pretty slow so far. I think it's going to be a late start and an early finish," said Robert Letourneau of Island Pond, Vt. where he taps 4,000. "It takes the same amount of work to get a lot of sap as it does to get no sap. And we've had no sap."
In the Central U.S. and southern regions, the season is shaping up to be a big one for some, not so great for others.
Tyler Hrivnak in Little Jack Corners, Pa. said the season has been disapointing in his region.
"It hasnt been a good season as in we had a very warm February," Hrivnack told The Maple News this week. He said some sugarmakers are retapping thier trees to capture some of the anticipated sap runs ahead.
"The weather looks good for March and the sugar maples aren't pushing buds," he said.
In New Jersey, it has also been too warm.
"This could be our worst season ever," said 1,000-tap sugarmaker Tom Phillips of Hardwick, N.J.
David Campbell, of 16,000-tap Mapleland Farms in Salem, N.Y. said he was at 1/3 of a crop already.
Rob & Missy Leab of Ioka Valley Farms in Hancock, Mass. were also at 1/3 of a crop.
“We’re making some beautiful light syrup,” Leab told The Maple News.
Michael Pauquette of 6,000-tap River Run Maple in Granville, N.Y. told The Maple News he was at a half of a crop already and had also made lots of the lighter grade.
“We’ve made nothing but light so far,” he said Friday.
Meanwhile, in the places like Ohio, the season might be nearing an end, with some in the southern part of the state pulling taps already.
"Northern Ohio is still making syrup. The producers that got tapped in January have close to a record crop," said Les Ober, a maple specialist with Ohio State University Extension.
Ober said there will be many producers with over a half gallon per tap average.
"It has been a long and sometimes frustrating season but it may pay dividends if it continues and it looks like we may have the weather to run to April in NE Ohio," Ober told The Maple News on Wednesday.
This weekend will mark the beginning of a series of weekends for maple open houses.
Ohio and Indiana both host producer open houses this weekend, as well as the southern region of Michigan.
Next weekend, Pennsylvania and New York will host their statewide open house events.