Maple syrup producers tapping early because of mild weather
Maple Mist Farm has already boiled two batches of sap
Maple producers in northern Nova Scotia are keeping their fingers crossed for a few more cold days as mild temperatures have sap flowing early. This can be problematic because there are still a lot of trees that have yet to be tapped.
"It's easier to tap a tree when it's frozen. You get a better hole in your tree. Your spout will seat tighter in the tree because your hole is perfectly round and you don't have to worry about contamination getting in," said Drew Hunter, the president of the Maple Producers Association of Nova Scotia.
Hunter estimates that half of the maple producers in the Colchester-Cumberland County area do not have all their trees tapped yet.
"Spring kind of sprung upon us very quickly this year. We weren't really expecting it to be as early as it was. El Niño definitely played a part in that," he said.
Hunter says other factors are playing into why there are so many trees left to tap including difficulty hiring people to work on the farms and producers still repairing damages from last winter.
Maple Mist Farm in Earltown, N.S. has 8,000 trees and still needs to tap 200-300.
"If we had another week, we would have been all right. We don't have all our trees tapped," said Peter Grant, who runs the sugar camp with his family.
Grant says they've already boiled two batches of sap for maple syrup. He says the last time they boiled that much was February 2011.
The good news, he says, is the quality has not been harmed by the early tap flow.
"Right now it's a little on the dark side but it's really good tasting," said Grant.