APPLE HILL – If ever spring needed an official emblem of its arrival it would be maple syrup.
During the past few weeks throughout Ontario the sap has been running and the maple syrup industry is gearing up for another spring season.
Eastern Ontario can boast of many farms that harvest the sap from trees on their property.
MacIntosh Ole Sugar barn near Maxville is one of those farms and its maple syrup operation is in full swing. The farm has been involved in the maple syrup industries since the 1970s.
The farm, a dairy farm, is truly a family affair with mom and dad, Trudy and Warren MacIntosh working alongside daughters, Brittany, Kelsey, Rebecca, and Kassie.
Brittany is the oldest and has the job of overseeing the maple sugar operations at the farm.
The Macintosh operation involves tapping more than 1,500 trees each spring.
Much of their success depends on the weather.
“This year we are having a slow start,” said Brittany.
The trees on their farm have only given up 35 gallons of syrup as the season begins.
As spring played hide and seek with maple syrup producers the industry patiently waited for the sap running season to get going.
“It is definitely slower just because we are not getting the right temperatures.
Last week we had temperatures that were plus 18 C but it didn’t freeze at night. Ideally you want minus five degrees at night and then plus five or higher during the day. You need it to freeze at night to get the trees going for the next day,” she said.
She said the coming weeks would determine how the maple syrup collecting at maple syrup bush would go.
“The next ten days looks very promising. If we get some good runs we should be fine.”
Normally, as in year’s past, the maple syrup production would be more advanced than it is this year. Brittany believes this year’s season might be shorter.
“The one nice thing now that we are finding is that the sugar content is higher.
Usually you start off with lower sugar content,” she said.
“We are just getting going now. The trees need that resting period at night.
They kind of shut off and then they turn back on. If it gets too warm too quickly they start making buds and then you are done. You do not gather sap much after the buds start.”
Maple Syrup producers in Ontario are expecting a reasonable year in the marketplace however the demand for their products in restaurants has declined due to pandemic restrictions.