2024 Maple Syrup Season Summary

The winter of 2024 in Northern Vermont can only be described as "Wacky".  Everything was backwards.  December and January are usually very cold, but this year they were warm with little snow.  Spring normally comes in late March and early April, but this year we got two blizzards with over 2 feet of snow during this period.  So everything was crazy.   

The warm start to the winter allowed for relatively easy "tapping" of our sugar maple 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.   The whole process usually takes about 2 months.  Due to the unusually low snow depth we were able to get around the woods without using snowshoes.  This made for much easier and faster tapping.  Our sugarbush has several sections, and we try to complete one section before we move on to the next. This year we finished tapping our first section by Christmas and when we had a thaw sap came down the lines and we able to start our season and make syrup in December.  To show how wacky this year was, the earliest we ever started previous to this season was late February!

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vermont's best maple syrup being made
pure vermont maple syrup.  our sugarbush in winter

We finished tapping all sections by early February and during late February and early March we had near perfect weather for maple sugaring.  During this period we set a one day record of collecting over 50,000 gallons of sap!   By Mid-March we were already close to our yearly goal for production and feeling pretty good about the outlook for the season. But Mother Nature had other plans and the weather turned colder and snowy for the rest of March and early April.  We made some syrup during this timeframe, but not as much as normal.  So the season ended up with very good, but not exceptional, production. The taste of our syrup was very good throughout the season. 

One "challenge" of  living in rural Vermont is dealing with Mud Season. Mud Season is when our dirt roads turn from hard gravel to something approaching quicksand. During the middle of winter the frost is driven 4 feet or more deep into the road   When spring comes in April, with its snowmelt and water, the ground thaws from the top down, but the deep frost below keeps the water from draining. As a result thick mud develops that likes to swallow up cars. All Vermonters are use to some level of Mud Season, but this year was the worst anyone can remember.  It usually lasts about two weeks, but this year with multiple freeze-thaws it went from December through the beginning of April.  On top of the unusual length of this dreaded season, we had two huge blizzards right when the roads were at their softest.  Needless to say the town road crews had their hands full trying to plow deep snow while at the same time trying to avoid getting stuck in the quagmire.  Somehow we survived - it's challenges like this that tend to pull our small Vermont communities together. 

The 2024 weather compared to an average year is summarized in 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 2024, the yellow line is 2023,  and the black line is the last 30 year average year.  2023 was a very poor year, too cold in March, then a sudden warm up in mid-April.  2024 weather was much better for sugaring, although the cold spell and snow around March 17-25th stopped all production during a period which is usually the peak of the season. 


  • The weather early in the winter was warm with little snow, making for easy tapping.
  • The season started much earlier than normal. We had near perfect  sugaring weather in early March and had some huge sap runs. Overall it was a tiring but very good production year.
  • The taste of our syrup was very good this year.  In particular, we made a large amount of great tasting dark amber syrup.     
  • We continue to learn and have great support from many people.   A huge THANKS to everyone who helped us!    
2024 Maple Syrup Season.jpg__PID:9a00996a-dd71-479c-9938-41aec00ca8a2

Images from the 2024 Season (hover over for caption)