Cold spring creates sweet conditions for Canada's maple syrup farmers
This spring’s colder start is keeping maple syrup flowing through sugar bushes and keeping producers across Canada very happy.
The colder nights and warmer days have created the perfect conditions for making maple syrup, which is welcome news following last spring’s unusually warm temperatures.
At Paul MacKenzie’s sugar bush in Boisdale N.S., the nighttime temperature has been dropping to -5 C while during the day, the mercury rises to about 5 C.
“That’s what we call ideal conditions,” MacKenzie told CTV Atlantic.
MacKenzie said spring temperatures warm the sap frozen in the root of the maple tree, allowing the sticky fluid to begin travelling up the tree toward the buds. Snow on the ground helps cool the sap so that it rises slowly and can be extracted before it reaches the buds.
MacKenzie added maple syrup is a sweet but labour intensive business, with an average of 40 litres of sap needed from his 8,000 trees to produce one litre of maple syrup.
“The sap won’t flow if the weather isn’t right,” he said.
Sunday was the busiest day of the season at Cabane a Sucre in Mont-St-Gregorie, Que., where families endured long lineups for maple syrup and breakfast at the 2,500-tree sugar bush.
The maple season typically runs from March through April, depending on weather conditions. With cooler temperatures forecast for the next week, farmers are expecting the sap to continue to flow for the next few weeks.
The conditions are a far cry from what maple farmers contended with last year, when abnormally warm spring weather made for a far shorter season.
As temperatures hit 27 C in some parts of Canada last March, the sap shot up the tree to the buds so quickly that famers had a difficult time extracting it.
In another blow to the 2012 season, a massive maple syrup heist saw millions of dollars’ worth of the sticky stuff stolen from a Quebec warehouse.
About 2.7 million kilos of maple syrup -- worth up to $18 million -- was reported missing after a routine inventory check last summer. Eighteen arrests were made in the case. Police said late last year that most of the stolen syrup was recovered.
Quebec claims to produce four-fifths of the world's maple syrup, but the heist had little impact on the global supply, as experts said the missing amount made up barely one-10th of the province's strategic reserve.
With files from The Canadian Press, CTV Atlantic and CTV Montreal