It may still be winter, but the maple syrup season is officially underway in eastern Ontario.
The warmer conditions have prompted the early start, which has producers like Brian Walt busier than ever.
“We’re off a little early but it has been running quite strongly. It’s running really well today so I think everybody in the maple syrup business is looking for it to run today,” Walt says.
He started producing the sweet syrup in Prince Edward County 20 years ago.
“It started out with us using some blue tarps out behind the trees just for fun and it’s kept growing to what we have today,” he says.
Over the years, Walt has grown his business. Currently, he has 1,500 trees tapped using plastic lines.
All of the sap flows through the lines into one giant stainless steel container, which is then produced into maple syrup and maple butter. In a single season, Walt says he can produce anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 litres of maple syrup.
READ MORE: How Maple Syrup is made
But it’s not an easy business to be in, especially when everything depends on Mother Nature, Walt adds.
Ideal weather for maple syrup production is a freezing-thaw cycle, with the temperatures dipping below 5 C at night and reaching a daytime high of plus 5 C.