Weather slowing start of maple syrup season

HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – This year’s maple syrup season has gotten off to a slow start.

The weather is perhaps the most important ingredient in not only the start, but also the length of the maple syrup season.

The sap, at least for now, is dripping at North Hadley sugar shack in Hadley after a season that has gotten off to a very slow start.

In order to get the sap to flow from the trees you need daytime temperatures in the 40s and overnight lows in the mid 20s. So far, these mild days and cool nights haven’t happened consistently.

Unlike really warm temperatures which could end the tapping season all together, unusually cold temperatures like we’ve had this winter don’t harm the tree.

“If the cold weather wants to hang on there’s no reason why we cannot produce maple syrup into the middle of April. We have done it before and this just might be one of those years that it’s going to happen,” said Joe Boisvert, owner of North Hadley Sugar Shack.

The sap flowing out of the tree is 98 percent water and only 2 percent sugar. So they use a wood fire evaporator to boil off the water down to maple syrup.

It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup, which can come in 4 different colors.

Each color syrup has a unique taste and its color differs based on the time of season it’s tapped from the tree.

Right now they’re able to make light amber syrup.

“After a week or so we will be making medium, then it goes right into dark and right into grade B. I think the longer the season is the more you have a chance at making more darker syrup,” said Martha Boisvert who also works at the North Hadley Sugar Shack.

The darker the syrup, the more of a maple flavor it has in it.

If it stays colder it’s possible they’ll be able to make more of the light amber syrup this year.

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