Maple syrup season starting off in a sticky situation

Expert says sap production is a off to a slightly slower start
Weather is slowing production of sap from maple trees, and the season is usually over by the end of April
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 5:10 PM CDT
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MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) - It’s the best time of year for maple syrup lovers. Sap is beginning to run from the trees but things are off to a slightly slower start due to the weather.

The owner of Maple Hollow Joe Polak said he’s remaining positive about what this syrup season will bring. “You can come in any time of the year and I’ll tell you it’s going to be a good year,” said Polak.

He keeps the positivity flowing to encourage the sap to do the same as they haven’t had a good run yet this year. Already in February, they tapped 200 acres of trees, but they’re just now starting to cook their first small batches.

“We are at the very, very beginning of the season. It’s been too cold, and as everyone knows we’ve had lots and lots of snow,” said Polak.

That snow has not yet melted away from the roots of the trees and Polak added that the trees are still fairly cold. Ideal temps for producing syrup would be high 40s during the day and freezing at night.

Despite the weather not cooperating, Maple Hollow has managed to get some batches in. It takes a lot of sap to make a little syrup, explained Polak.

“Normally in a forest like this, we average about 2% sugar. That means it would take 42 1/2 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup,” said Polak.

Even though they’re slightly down on production, Polak isn’t stressing. “No worries yet, it’s just a little behind,” said Polak. The unpredictability of mother nature sure isn’t helping this year either.

While the syrup season has just begun, time is running out for the trees to do their magic. The maple syrup season for Polak usually runs until the end of April.