ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Maple syrup season ending early for some producers

Danielle Kaeding Wisconsin Public Radio A warmer winter has meant an early sap run for Wisconsin maple syrup producers, and the spring warm-up may soon spell the end of the season. Theresa Baroun, executive director of the Wisconsin Maple Syrup P...

Danielle Kaeding

Wisconsin Public Radio

A warmer winter has meant an early sap run for Wisconsin maple syrup producers, and the spring warm-up may soon spell the end of the season.

Theresa Baroun, executive director of the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association, said warmer weather may mean the end of the sap run for central and southern Wisconsin.

When the maple trees start budding, that’s when people in the sugarbush - woods where sugar maples thrive - stop collecting sap to make maple syrup. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"We tapped about a week earlier than we have in the past, and we’re going to probably be a week to two weeks done earlier this year than last year due to the warm-up this week," Baroun said.

The maple syrup season in Wisconsin has started and ended earlier the last three years, according to national agriculture statistics. Last year, the season opened March 6 and ended April 4. In 2015, the season opened a little more than a week later and ended April 6. In 2014, the season began March 28 and ended April 19. 

In her personal sugarbush, Baroun said they have 901 taps on about 400 trees. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup, she said.

In northern Wisconsin, Charly Ray, chairman for the Town of Bayview, said he’s got about 120 taps out in the Bayfield Peninsula and is setting more.

"I don’t think we’ll be done early at this point because it seems like everything is staying pretty cool," Ray said.

Paul Demain, editor of News from Indian Country and a member of the Oneida Nation, said erratic winter weather has made for an on-and-off season instead of a steady sap run.

"We’re probably into now at the end of March the third or fourth run," Demain said. "The last week-and-a-half has been a good run, and we’re anticipating that it’ll run until the end of this week."

Baroun said maple syrup production in Wisconsin has grown in recent years. The state produced around 235,000 gallons of maple syrup last year.

ADVERTISEMENT

Wisconsin maple syrup production has grown about 15 percent since 2014, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The state’s maple syrup production has been trending upward in the past decade, hitting a peak in 2013 when Wisconsin produced 265,000 gallons of maple syrup.

"It seems our industry is getting bigger and bigger because people really want to know where their food comes from," Baroun said. "More and more people are going out and making maple syrup."

Wisconsin Public Radio, © Copyright 2017, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. More WPR news is available at KUWS-FM 91.3 or wpr.org.

Related Topics: WEATHERFOOD
What To Read Next