Spring-like thaw keeps maple producers in Peterborough area busy

Click to play video: 'Spring-life thaw has maple sap flowing in Peterborough area' Spring-life thaw has maple sap flowing in Peterborough area
The recent mild weather and cool nights mean maple producers are busy in the Peterborough area – Feb 28, 2018

It began about eight days ago.

Syrup, running from the 3,600 trees on the Staples’ maple farm in Cavan Monaghan Township.

“It started a lot earlier this year, the same as last year, and last year it started early, stopped for a couple of weeks and started up again,” said Jill Staples.

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But Staples points out that while maple syrup season seems to be underway, it doesn’t mean it’s here to stay.

Sap runs as a result of cold nights that dip below freezing, followed by days that peak above zero. Staples said it’s not uncommon for the season to start when the weather turns colder during March.

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“Snow in the woods, keeping it nice and cold, is ideal,” said Mark Staples, Jill’s son and one of the family syrup producers. “A longer thaw is better than a quick thaw.”

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Right now, the Staples are producing golden syrup, a lighter, delicate-tasting product. The other two grades include amber and dark syrup, which offer a stronger flavour.

But there’s no real method to getting those grades. Instead, Jill said it comes down to factors producers have no control over.

“The mood of the trees, the mood o the weather, and mother nature,” she said with a laugh.

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The Staples have been producing syrup on their property for a generation. There are no added products, and Staples said they don’t fertilize their trees and try not to disturb the forest on their land. She said it helps create a naturally sweet and simple product.

“They’re finding more and more, with all the research they’re doing into maple syrup, how healthy it is for you, and all the things that it’s doing to help your body,” she said.

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The Staples are keeping an eye on the weather for now, and hope spring doesn’t come too soon.

“Once the buds are out it gets really bitter, and so that’s when it’s definitely over,” Jill said.

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