Featured Article

Maple Syrup Season Not So Sweet
Article Audio

1:36 minutes (1.54 MB)
Download this Article
Share this Content

The maple syrup season in Connecticut finished up about a week ago. Farmers produced less syrup this year than they usually do because of warmer temperatures.

Chuck Drake taps about 150 sugar maple trees in Windsor . He says it was a lousy season; the worst he’s seen in 25 years.

“It’s just been too warm. There hasn’t been below freezing temperatures and the sap just hasn’t been running.”

Drake made about half as much syrup as he normally does. He uses the old fashioned method of collecting sap in buckets.

Richard Norman, who taps between 800 and 1000 trees in Woodstock, made about a third less .

"It was a poor year. It wasn’t the worst, but it was a little below average. But you know it made very good syrup, good flavor good taste."

Norman, has plastic tubes rather than buckets attached to his trees. And he uses a vacuum pump that removes air pressure in the tubing, creating a vacuum that moves more sap out of the tree. It doesn’t hurt the tree.

“We would not have made as much syrup without vacuum. And I think you’re going to find throughout the industry this year... people who have high-tech equipment are going to do O.K.  Those that don’t, the old traditional buckets just did not run."

The vacuum system can cost thousands of dollars and is only used by larger producers. It can double or triple the amount collected under gravity alone.

Maple syrup producers in parts of northern New England also had a rough season because of warmer weather.