•  Fast and furious. Sap comes in the releaser at The Maple News sugarhouse in Hebron, N.Y. on Wednesday, March 20 during the biggest sap run ever at the sugarhouse.

  •  A line of sample jars at Emerick's Maple LLC in Hyndman, Pa. "We've made more than 1,000 gallons of Light Amber," said sugarmaker Matthew Emerick.

  •  Sugarmaker Jim Hayden of Sunderland, Vt. dumps a batch in the canner during a boil on March 19. Hayden was clearing out the tanks in preparation for the biggest run of the season which came the next day.

  •  Sugarmaker Hamilton Hayes of Manchester Center, Vt. checks his grade during a boil on Tuesday, March 19. Hayes was enjoying a fairly decent season off his 375 taps so far.

  •  Father and son sugarmakers Hamilton Hayes and Tom Hayes work around the evaporator during a boil at their Manchester Center, Vt. sugarhouse on March 19. The central and southern areas of Vermont enjoyed a big run this week.

  •  Sugarmaker David Campbell of Mapleland Farms in Salem, N.Y. boils on March 18 on his new 6x16 Dominion & Grimm evaporator.

Season Update #5: The season comes alive for some, still a trickle for north

Central areas making big crops


SUNDERLAND, Vt. — The season is finally opening up in the central strip of the Maple Belt, with some sugarmakers buried in sap this week.

“It’s going to run like crazy,” said sugarmaker Jim Hayden of Sunderland, Vt. as he was boiling on Tuesday, March 20.  

And sure enough it did, with an ocean of sap coming in during the 50 degree day on Wednesday in central and southern Vermont and neighboring New York.  Sap ran through the night and into Thursday.

“I am sleep deprived,” said sugarmaker Tim Dwyer of Shushan, N.Y.

At the Maple News sugarhouse in Hebron, N.Y. it was a record amount of sap and syrup made over the two days of March 20 and 21.  About 3,500 gallons of sap on 900 taps in a 24 hour continuous run.

In Pennsylvania, sugarmakers Matthew & Stephanie Emerick in Hyndman, Pa. were enjoying a very good season.

“To date we have boiled 20 times and have made 1,798 gallons,” Emerick said on Thursday, March 21.

In Southern Ohio, sugarmaker Milo Byler was thinking of shutting down for the season, thinking his holes have dried up.

“I might rebore my holes,” he told The Maple News on Tuesday.

Byler said he made 215 gallons off his 970 taps, most of which were on 3/16th lines.

In Wisconsin, the season was just getting started, a little late.

“Our season started about two and a half weeks later this year and it looks like it will be fast, but very good sap production,” said Theresa Baroun, executive director of the Wisconsin Maple Producers Association and a sugarmaker in DePere, Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, only a trickle so far in Northern Vermont, the biggest syrup producing region of the U.S.

“The sap ran a little,” said Arnie Piper in Morrisville, Vt.  Piper said he was in the “Snow Belt” in Vermont and wasn’t expecting the trees to warm up just yet.

“We still have almost 4 feet of snow on the ground,” he said.

Another foot of snow was coming down on Friday in the region.

In nearby Underhill Center, Vt. home of the UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, things were not looking much better.

“We had a decent run the past few nights, but still a bit on the cold side in the northern half of the state except along the Champlain Valley and foothills,” said center director Dr. Timothy Perkins. 

He said the northeast part of Vermont has still barely started.

In most of New England and New York, this weekend is the open house weekend, where visitors are encouraged to tour sugarhouses.  

In Maine, the Maine Maple Sunday event typically draws thousands of visitors to each sugarhouse.