maple syrup

CT's Maple Syrup Producers Seeing Early Start to Production Because of Mild Winter

Fewer cold nights and more warm days mean earlier sap boils for most producers, but warmer weather could mean a shorter season.

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It has been a mild winter and while many people enjoy the warmer temperatures, there are some who like it a little colder. That includes Connecticut’s maple syrup producers, who rely on some cold temperatures to produce that sweet concoction so many people love.

Peter Solari and his wife run Goshen Hill Maples - a maple syrup producer in Lebanon that usually produces about 60 gallons of syrup a year. Unless the future weather includes more freezing cold nights, this year’s production could be lower.

“This year, I think we’ll be lucky to make 20,” Solari said.

That’s because of the mild winter. Fewer cold nights and more warm days have altered the natural sugar and sap production cycle, according to the Maple Syrup Producers Association of Connecticut (MSPAC).

“The sap production has been sort of up and down because of the lack of some of these freezing nights,” MSPAC President Matt Wilkinson said.

Fewer freezing nights have brought about an early season start. Like Goshen Hill Maples, Buell’s Dragonfly Farm in Hampton is already in production.

“Usually, President’s Day weekend is when we tap in,” Ben Buell said. “So, a little early.”

The mild winter is the reason the season has been expedited but the quality seems unaffected. The sugar content has been around 2%, according to Buell.

“The sugar content has been OK,” Buell said. “I wasn’t sure with it not being cold, whether it was going to be good.”

Goshen Hill Maples says it sees the same thing as Buell Dragonfly Farm and they are boiling sap down from that 2% sugar to a much sweeter percentage.

“So, we have to get that to 59%,” Solari said.

Solari says his syrup tastes as good as ever but there may be one slight difference.

“We have never made syrup this light [colored] before. This is a first for us,’’ said pointing to a seemingly perfect amber-colored syrup.

Ben Buell says his farm bottled 150 gallons last year. And while this season has been strange so far, he’s not ready to predict how many gallons this year will bring.

Like all maple syrup producers, he’s hoping for another cold snap to elongate the season.

“Some years we go all the way into April,” he said.

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