Maple syrup producers in Waterloo Region and Wellington County got an early start to collecting sap this year, and they say the season will have an early end as well.
"It's been an odd year in that we tapped early, we boiled early and I think we're going to be done early," said Al Murray of the Waterloo Wellington Maple Syrup Producers.
"Hopefully there'll be a bit more of a run, but each day that goes by with mild temperatures and no freezing at night, means probably the end of the season [is getting] near."
He said most producers in the area have buckets or lines out and sap is still running, but he doesn't expect the runs to last until April, like they did last year.
Almost the end
Local sugar shacks opened on the weekend before March Break and producers have been working long hours to collect what sap they can before their trees begin to bud.
Kevin Snyder of Snyder Heritage Farms near Breslau produced syrup on Feb. 25 this year, which is the earliest he's ever done so.
Last year, local producers set a record on how much maple syrup they produced because weather conditions were ideal.
'I keep reminding people it's still quite early.' - Ray Bonenberg, Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association
"Now this year, we're missing some snowstorms and the temperature's too extreme and it's way too warm for what maple syrup producers like to see," he said.
"We're not done yet, but, unfortunately, we can almost see the end, I think."
He added it's unclear whether a shortened season will affect the syrup supply later this year.
Urban sugaring wraps up
An urban sugaring project in Guelph will finish collecting sap on Wednesday and is hoping to distribute maple syrup to those who took part in early April.
John Dennis of Transition Guelph told CBC News he hoped to have 50 taps for the first year. In fact, the group ended up tapping 71 trees, including in the school yard at John McCrae Public School.
"We have been working like crazy the past couple of weeks," Dennis said. "There has been great feedback from the participants."
'It's still quite early'
Ray Bonenberg is the past president and current spokesman of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association and he is hopeful that the season is far from over.
"I keep reminding people it's still quite early," he said in an interview from his Pembroke home, where they still had a foot of snow on the ground last week.
He said it depends on a sugar bush's location and local weather, but in the past he has seen mild temperatures suddenly plummet and then the sap runs vigorously.
"My very educated, experienced guess would be that we're not done yet," he said.