A season of frigid temperatures is leading to a slow start for those in Connecticut’s maple syrup industry, as many farmers wait for their trees to unfreeze and the sap to flow.
Bob Dobos, of Bedlam and Bats Maple Farm in Chaplin, said he couldn't even tap his trees until this week because they were frozen solid. He usually taps them in late January, but the cold weather led to a delay.
“In the long haul, it means we may end up making half the maple syrup we made last year,” he said.
The polar vortex is making the already short maple syrup season even shorter. A good season usually lasts nine weeks; this year, they're hoping to get in at least four weeks. With no syrup to produce, maple farmers have had to turn down tours and cancel events, waiting for warm weather to thaw out the trees.
However, they say cold could lead to one benefit when it comes to the quality of the syrup.
“The cold weather keeps the sap nice and clear and you end up making a nicer grade of syrup,” Dobos said.
Farmers had such a strong season last year that many still have plenty of maple syrup on reserve so they do not expect the price of syrup to rise.