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Maple syrup producers in sticky situation amid pandemic
BARRIE -- The maple syrup industry is in a sticky situation as producers look for ways to sell their goods amid a global pandemic.
"The season is pretty much over with now," says Tom Shaw, Shaw's Maple Syrup. "We've had an average season. We're going to have another boil or so depending on if we get some cold nights coming up."
This season the Shaw family had to close three weeks into their regular eight-week season because of COVID-19.
The outbreak forced the closure of non-essential businesses and changed the way the Shaw's sell their syrup.
"It looks like this year, what we're going to be doing is selling it on the wholesale market by the drum - which will be a lower percentage of the sale," Shaw says he will be lucky to get 30 per cent of what he would typically bring in.
In Tiny Township, Windlee Farms is facing the same challenges.
The Lorriman's have resorted to selling in an unusual way to avoid physical contact with their customers.
A trailer parked at the end of their property will serve as a place to pick up orders.
"We give them [customers] a code to open the lockbox with the key, and then they can open the door and grab their syrup. Then they leave the cash in an envelope, and then we come at the end of the day and wipe everything down," explains Peter Lorriman.
Since festivals and open houses that would be held next month are cancelled, Windlee Farms is focusing online more now than ever.