Maple syrup producers facing shortened season, smaller yields
BARRIE, ONT. -- The kettles at Maple Grove Syrup and Sleigh Rides in Severn haven't been bubbling nearly as often as Brent Beers would like.
"We've only made a quarter of what we made last year," Beers said Sunday.
His is a livelihood that relies on perfect weather conditions, and Mother Nature has not been cooperating.
Earlier in March, it was too cold for sap to move through Beers' 1,100 trees. A recent spike in temperatures is bringing a new set of problems.
"The warmer weather will create more buds on the trees, and then we won't be able to continue," explains Beers.
Sap flows differently through a budding tree, which makes the resulting syrup taste bad, not like something you'd pour over a stack of pancakes.
Beer says the perfect conditions for syrup making are about minus five degrees at night, plus five during the day. Simcoe County has seen a string of days with highs in the mid-teens and night time lows above freezing.
"I believe that we're going to be greatly affected by the upcoming temperatures," Beers says.
He expects other producers, especially those further south, will encounter similar challenges.