HANCOCK, N.H.—Low sugar, low sugar, low sugar.
That has been the refrain from sugarmakers in the Northeast so far, trying to make syrup from low test sap
“There just ain’t no sugar in the stuff,” said Davey Shuhart, a 150-tap producer in Cherry Plain, N.Y.
“Guys around here have just been dumping sap on the ground.”
Kevin Sayre, a 700-tap producer in Westport, N.Y. said he’s been boiling off of sap as low as 1.3 percent.
“It’s been half of what we usually see,” he said on Monday. “I’ve gone through six cords of wood already.”
In New Hampshire, veteran sugarmaker Bill Eva was happy with his season, but said his sugar has been low too.
“We’ve heard reports that Global Warming might be to blame, that the trees are stressed, but I don’t know for sure,” Eva said on Monday during a boil.
“Years ago we used to average 2.5 to 2.7,” Eva said. “This year we’ve been around 1.6 to 1.8.”
“Usually we start the season at least at 2 percent, but I haven’t seen that yet,” he added.
Leader Evaporator vice president Bruce Gillilan reported that low sugar in the sap has been a major complaint from across the Maple Belt.
In nearby Alstead, N.H. sugarmaker Alan Dustin was enjoying his best run of the year on Monday. He got 15,000 gallons on 7,300 taps in just 24 hours.
“We’ve been running the R/O since eight this morning,” he said.
Dustin said he was at 50 percent of a crop so far and was also suffering through low sugar content. But it spiked up a little for his big run.
Meanwhile, in the Midwest, some sugarmakers have called it a season.
Arthur and Rebecca Harris of Harris Sugar Bush in Greencastle, Ind. shut down a week ago.
“We did pretty well,” Rebecca Harris said. “This year we tapped in mid January and we were pretty pleased with everything.”
She said they made 1,300 gallons on 6,000 taps and closed out the season after a stretch of 70s at the end of February.
In the Upper Midwest, some sugarmakers will be boiling for the first time as temperatures climbed toward the end of this week.
The Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association will be hosting their annual First Tree tapping on Saturday at Maple Creek Sugarbush in Barron, Wisc. at 10:00 a.m.
Wisconsin 70th Alice in Dairyland, Crystal Siemers-Peterman will start the ceremony by tapping a maple tree and declaring Maple Month in Wisconsin from March 15- April 15.
Back in New York, sugarmakers will be opening their doors for the first of two Maple Open House Weekends.
A week long cold snap is forecast for the Northeast, shutting down trees. The region has had three Nor'Easters in the month of March. Another storm is forecast for next Tuesday.