2021 Maple Syrup Season Summary
The winter and spring of 2021 proved to be very challenging for maple syrup producers throughout northeast US and Canada.
The winter started with warmer than average temperatures and everything looked like we were going to have a relatively easy time tapping the trees. Tapping is the process of going to each maple tree, drilling a very small 1/4" hole in the tree, and inserting a spout (also called spile) into the hole to collect the sap coming out of the tree. Well, as often is the case in Vermont, the weather changed dramatically in mid-January and we got plenty of snow and no thaws. As a result we had to trudge through very deep snow to get to each tree for tapping. Since there were no thaws, the snow was extremely fluffy and there was no bottom! Even our largest snowshoes couldn't keep us near the surface! But with the help of Ezra, Paco, Erik, Jimmy, and Andrew we managed to complete on time in mid-February.
2021 Maple Tapping
Then came the wait. Normally we get our first run of sap in late February. But the same weather that caused snow in Texas this winter also resulted in cold weather in the Northeast right through the first week in March. As a result our first boil was not until March 11th.
During March we had many good runs of sap and we were able to produce excellent tasting syrup. Production went very smoothly with (almost) no problems. We made our Sugarhouse Reserve Maple Syrup at the peak of the season. However, around April 6th we had a severe "heat wave" that stopped the sap flow altogether.
Last summer we made several investments to our operations that we hoped would allow us to increase our production this year. But with the poor weather we were only able to make about the same amount of syrup as in 2020. Even though we didn't increase our output, the good news is that we still have plenty of syrup and the taste this year was excellent.
The 2021 weather is summarized in the the graph below. The chart shows "Cumulative Growing Degree Days" which is a measure of how fast or slow the weather is heating up in a given spring. Farmers, gardeners, and orchardists use this information to predict when seeds will germinate and other plant events like bud break. The blue line is 2021, the yellow line is 2020 and the black line is the average year. The 2020 season started February 27th and lasted until April 25th, 58 days total. The 2021 season started March 11th and went to April 8th, 29 days total.
- Deep Snow
- Season Started Late
- Season Ended Early
- Excellent Tasting Syrup
- Hoped to Increase production but ended up making same as last year
- Even with the weather challenges we consider this a very successful year. THANK YOU to all of the folks who helped us!