Maple syrup producers around Ottawa optimistic about 2016 season
'The long-range forecast looks great,' says one producer
For maple syrup producers in the national capital region, the recent spell of moderate weather seems to be right in their sweet spot.
"What every syrup producer wants is cold nights and warm days," said Scott Deugo, a fifth-generation syrup producer at Fulton's Pancake House and Sugar Bush in Pakenham, Ont., about 60 kilometres west of Ottawa.
"So minus four or five at night, plus four or five in the day with some sun — that really gets the sap flowing. And the long-range forecast looks great."
Season began earlier elsewhere
Producers in other Canadian provinces, like Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, began tapping their trees earlier than expected this year because of mild weather.
- New Brunswick maple syrup industry braces for quick, early season
- Syrup producers in Nova Scotia tapping early because of mild weather
According to Environment Canada weather data for Ottawa, however, daytime highs here only began consistently cracking the 0 C mark last week — and that has local producers like Deugo optimistic about the 2016 season.
Fulton's, which normally produces about 4,000 litres of maple syrup each year, has only been tapping their trees for "about three or four days," Deugo said on Saturday.
That meant hundreds of maple lovers showed up at the sugar shack for taffy and other confections this weekend.
"Oh, it's beautiful [here]," said Matt Burtch, who came from Smiths Falls with his five-year-old daughter. "It's telling me that spring is on the way."
'Pretty good days so far'
While spring may be getting closer and closer, Francois Proulx of Proulx Sugar Bush and Berry Farm in Cumberland — which has about 1,000 maple trees — hopes it stays chilly overnight for a while longer.
"We've been having some pretty good days so far. The sap has been flowing really well, because basically you need a good frost at night and a good defrost during the day," Proulx said.
"Once the frost is finished, then it gets too warm. The season is over."
Both Proulx and Deugo also agree that while the long-term regional forecast looks positive it's always difficult to make predictions about how long the trees will keep producing sap.
"I'll know how my season went, kind of, when it's over," said Deugo. "It's really hard to predict."